Share article:
Share article:

Brussels firm does secret lobbying for Saudi Arabia

© Belga
© Belga

MSL Brussels has had a contract with Saudi Arabia since 2015 to clean up the image of the Saudi kingdom, suspected of having links with Islamic extremists, according to the non-governmental Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), De Morgen reported on Tuesday. However, the lobbying firm has done everything to keep the deal a secret, the daily reported the NGO as saying.

De Morgen mentioned examples of the lobby work by MSL Brussels, compiled by the NGO, adding that MSL Brussels had not responded to requests for comments.

Citing one such example, the daily recalled that when the Grand Mosque in Brussels fell into discredit, MSL Brussels spread the message that it was a “generalised false idea” that Saudi Arabia was spreading Islamic fundamentalism.

The lobbying firm, which is part of the Publicis Group, also “defend[ed] the Kingdom from accusations that it was linked to the export of terrorism, including by placing press stories on the subject in the wake of the Brussels terror attacks” on 22 March 2016, CEO noted.

“Promoting the popularity of Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman”, “whitewashing the country’s terrible human rights record”, and “deflecting international condemnation of the conduct by the Saudi-led coalition of the war in Yemen” were other elements of the lobbying done by MSL Brussels, the NGO stated in a press release posted on its website.

MSL Brussels is on the EU’s lobbying Transparency Register, but did not list Saudi Arabia as one of its clients, according to CEO.

“Given the Kingdom’s brutal reputation, there are plenty of reasons for MSL Brussels to wish to keep this contract silent,” the NGO commented.


The Brussels Times

.

Latest news

Brussels and Wallonia once again dark red on European travel map
The Brussels-Capital Region and Wallonia have turned dark red in the latest update to the travel map by the European Centre for Disease Prevention ...
Belgium in Brief: What Now?
We've had the meeting, we know the results, and now the time has come to see what happens next. So I find myself wondering a simple question: ...
Floating solar farm to be built along Ostend coast next year
Dutch company Oceans of Energy has announced plans to construct a solar farm off the coast of Ostend next year that should eventually provide enough ...
Trial against Deliveroo begins in Brussels
The Labour Court of Brussels will hear a case on Thursday involving 27 couriers for Deliveroo, who are suing the platform for precarious working ...
Belgium switches to winter time this weekend (yes, again)
This weekend, Belgium will once again change the clocks from summer to winter time, meaning that at 3:00 AM, the clocks will go back one hour, ...
Turkey gets green light to join EU schemes, UK still waiting
On Wednesday, Turkey was given the go-ahead to join the EU’s flagship research, education and youth programmes while the United Kingdom’s bid to stay ...
‘Too much, too quickly’: 40% of burnout patients given antidepressants
The process of diagnosing burnout among people in Belgium is too slow, while too many antidepressants are being prescribed too quickly to people ...
Travel confidence: 2 in 3 Europeans plan to travel in the next six months
Demand for travel is strong across Europe despite the end of the peak summer season, with 2 in 3 Europeans planning to travel in the next six months. ...
Brussels metro: strikes continue to cause delays
Strike action by metro staff continues to cause delays on Brussels metro lines M1, M2, M5, and M6. This follows from Wednesday's strikes, organised ...
New police team will investigate mobile phones of trafficking victims
From now on, a new police team will systematically examine the mobile phones of victims of human smugglers in an effort to track down the criminals ...
Thousands of travellers could face delays at Brussels Airport due to action
The around 50,000 travellers expected by Brussels Airport in Zaventem on Friday could face delays as the police at the border controls are planning a ...
Face masks re-introduced in certain grades of Flemish primary schools
The wearing of face masks will once again be mandatory for pupils in the fifth and sixth years of Dutch-speaking primary schools, starting from ...