German Green MEP Jutta Paulus found herself in hot water this week as Politico alleged that the parliamentarian had pasted a file, sent to her by green lobbyists, directly into a draft legal text on the regulation of methane gas.
Paulus, who was reviewing legislation to reduce methane emissions, was tasked with preparing “compromise amendments” to proposals when metadata in her submitted text revealed that it originated from a file sent by the green NGO Clean Air Task Force (CATF).
The text in question related to methane emissions in the coal sector, a topic that CATF has lobbied EU politicians on before. According to Paulus’s online itinerary, she met with representatives from CATF to discuss methane reductions on February 3rd.
While CATF confirmed that it sent a document to Paulus, it clarified to Politico that it had no power over what the MEP subsequently did with it. In response, Paulus claimed that the irregularities were an oversight by a staff member and that she had altered the wording while using the original file as a foundation:
The format and the name of the original author were thus kept in the new, own [sic] document by mistake. The document with the compromise amendments was drafted by us only.
In response to a request for comment by The European Conservative, Paulus rejected the accusations, adding that “false allegations” were hampering parliamentary progress.
A spokesman for CATF confirmed to The European Conservative that Paulus’s draft text was not the document they sent to the MEP and supported her statement that the issue arose due to a clerical error. They also criticised Politico for not clarifying better that the two texts were different.
CATF is an American-based environmental lobby group that has been active in Brussels since 2020, campaigning on a decarbonisation agenda. According to its 2020 financial report, it has a budget of just over $11 million.
Paulus has previously been active in the EU’s outreach to COP27 negotiations on climate change and boycotting Russian gas projects in the Arctic.
There is increased sensitivity in Brussels over the role NGOs play in lobbying politicians, with further arrests of MEPs pertaining to the Qatargate scandal occurring this week. A significant aspect of the ongoing investigations is how outsider groups were able to influence MEPs through the NGO sector.
European People’s Party (EPP) President Manfred Weber last week called for greater scrutiny into the role NGOs play in influencing decision-makers, with President of the Parliament Roberta Metsola producing a policy paper on reforming lobbying.