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The Daily Express online confuses catering with canvassing

Compilation of newspapers
Compilation of newspapers

A weekend piece with the headline "Fury as Britain told Europe MUST be UK's top partner – by think tank funded by EU" (see below) by Express Online clearly implies that the European Parliament donated £1,253 to a London-based think tank, Chatham House. Considering the piece is about funding pro-EU research you will be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that we gave the money to Chatham House in exchange for pro-European research.

Well, the Express's claim is wrong.

The European Parliament has not donated any money or given any grants to Chatham House.

What astonished us most however is that the reporter who penned the piece was in touch with us and chose to omit that fact.

To cut a long email trail short (for the curious - we publish the whole exchange below): in June 2015 we co-organised an event with Chatham House. Our contribution was limited to £1,253 which we paid for ... catering. So unless the Express counts canapés, coffees and the like as research, the paper's claim is completely wrong. And it knows that.

Below is the whole email conversation between us and the reporter:

 

Thanks for your help, appreciate it.

Katie Mansfield

Reporter

www.express.co.uk

@katiemansfield_

 

From: DZIEWULSKA Olga Wiktoria [olga.dziewulska@europarl.europa.eu]
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2016 2:07 PM
To: Katie Mansfield
Subject: RE: European Parliament Chatham House funding - Daily Express online

Dear Katie,

Unless you classify sandwiches, finger food and coffee as "research"...

I understand your curiosity, but I am afraid you will have to speak to Chatham House about how they categorise their activities.


As explained below – this figure is the our contribution to a round-table discussion (perhaps hence the "research activity" heading).

It represents an amount we paid for catering against an invoice from a catering company.

Regards,

Olga

 

From: Katie Mansfield [mailto:Katie.Mansfield@Express.co.uk]
Sent: 16 December 2016 13:56
To: DZIEWULSKA Olga Wiktoria
Subject: RE: European Parliament Chatham House funding - Daily Express online

I understand they were not donations but would like to clarify the nature of the payment as Chatham House classes the £1,253 as 'research activities'?

Katie Mansfield

Reporter

www.express.co.uk

@katiemansfield_

 

From: DZIEWULSKA Olga Wiktoria [olga.dziewulska@europarl.europa.eu]
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2016 1:51 PM
To: Katie Mansfield
Subject: RE: European Parliament Chatham House funding - Daily Express online

Dear Katie,

The below figures are correct but your context is not. This has nothing to do with a donation or a grant.

In June 2015 we co-organised an event with Chatham House (at their premises). It was a round-table discussion with 3 MEPs. The figure you quote is our contribution indeed – we paid for the catering against an invoice from the catering company.

We are also Standard corporate members of Chatham House (the figure you have represents two years of standard membership).

Just like many public organisations (see the list on their own website) we attend Chatham House events and the fee covers this attendance for up to 5 members of our team.

Neither of the above are donations and we have never ordered any research from Chatham House.

Hope this satisfies your curiosity.

Kind regards,

Olga

 

From: Katie Mansfield [mailto:Katie.Mansfield@Express.co.uk]
Sent: 16 December 2016 13:36
To: DZIEWULSKA Olga Wiktoria
Subject: RE: European Parliament Chatham House funding - Daily Express online

Chatham House says the European Parliament in the year 2015/16 paid the below.

European Parliament total: £7,500

- Breakdown:

Research activities: £1,253 (one event)

Corporate membership: £6,250

Can you confirm?

Katie Mansfield

Reporter

www.express.co.uk

@katiemansfield_

 

From: DZIEWULSKA Olga Wiktoria [olga.dziewulska@europarl.europa.eu]
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2016 1:26 PM
To: Katie Mansfield
Subject: RE: European Parliament Chatham House funding - Daily Express online

Dear Katie,

Thank you for your query.

I am afraid you are mistaken – the European Parliament did not make any donations to Chatham House. Chatham House is not a recipient of any of the European Parliament grants either.

Kind regards,

Olga Dziewulska

Olga DZIEWULSKA

Press attachée

European Parliament

Information Office in the United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7227 4335

Mobile phone : +44 (0) 7786 060 531

www.europarl.europa.eu

Twitter: @EPinUK

 

From: Katie Mansfield [mailto:Katie.Mansfield@Express.co.uk]
Sent: 16 December 2016 07:50
To: DUCH GUILLOT Jaume
Subject: European Parliament Chatham House funding - Daily Express online
Importance: High

Hello,

I'm a reporter from the Daily Express online.

I have a query about EU funding and Chatham House in light of Dr Robin Niblett's recent essay on Europe being Britain's essential relationship.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/twt/europe-now-britain-s-essential-relationship

I understand the European Parliament donated between £1,000 and £9,999 to Chatham House in 2015/16.

Are you able to confirm how much money was donated, or give a steer on whether the donation was at the lower or higher end of the band.

Does the European Parliament make donations to Chatham House in return for pro-EU research and coverage such as the latest piece by Dr Robin Niblett?

Any comment or background you can give would be greatly appreciated.

If someone could get back to me as soon as possible that would be great.

Best wishes

Katie Mansfield

Reporter

www.express.co.uk

@katiemansfield_

020 8612 7642

Katie Mansfield

Reporter

www.express.co.uk

@katiemansfield_

 
 

Link to the article:

Article of Daily Express