- This press release first appeared on Les Amis de la Terre / Friends of the Earth France website (translated).
New research from Friends of the Earth France
Les Amis de la Terre / Friends of the Earth France, l’Observatoire des mutinationales and Survie launched a new report revealing how the French state plays into the hands of Total in Uganda.
The research plunges us deep into the multinational’s influence strategies to secure the French authorities’ support – diplomatic, economic, military – in the development of its oil mega-project in Uganda. At the heart of this machinery is the revolving door system: the report reveals the extent to which senior officials go back and forth between Total and various ministries and key institutions.
The art of double dealing
While Total’s Tilenga (oil extraction) and EACOP (giant pipeline) projects in Uganda and Tanzania have documented devastating impacts on human rights and the environment, and are also the subject of a legal action and a growing mobilization, the oil major is not the only one discarding the numerous civil society and scientists’ warnings. Indeed, the French state, in total contradiction with its speeches supporting human rights and the climate, is making sure its resources serve Total’s harmful projects.
The report thus explains in detail how public institutions (the Presidential Palace, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, French Embassy in Uganda, Public Investment Bank, French Development Agency, Deposits ad Consignments Fund, State participation agency, army), supposed to represent and defend the general interest, are perverted to benefit oil and a multinational’s private interests.
Olivier Petitjean, spokesperson for l’Observatoire des multinationales said:
“Revolving doors are at the heart of Total’s influence strategy: the multinational poaches former senior officials and policy makers, or on the contrary encourages its executives to go back to public service, which leads to a confusion between Total’s and its shareholders’ interests and those of France.”
Juliette Renaud, Les Amis de la Terre / Friends of the Earth France’s campaigner continued:
« Thanks to revolving doors and sponsorship of public events, Total’s interests seem to have infiltrated the French state from all sides. In the name of economic diplomacy, Kampala’s embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emmanuel Macron himself blindly support these climate-damaging projects that already deprive more than 100 000 people from their means of subsistence in Uganda and Tanzania. While France is preparing new and shiny speeches for the international arena ahead of the COP26, it’s time for the French state to stop playing into the hands of Total!”
Thomas Bart, Survie’s activist concluded:
« While in Uganda, the repression of civil society and dissenting voices seeking to denounce human rights violations and environmental attacks is increasingly strong, the French government does not hesitate to develop its military cooperation with the authoritarian Ugandan regime. The latter announced the deployment of new military contingents to “protect” future oil installations… On site, these forces are used to silence any opposition to Total’s project.”
This report is part of the European Fossil Free Politics campaign to free public policies from the influence of fossil industry lobbies. Learn more about the campaign and our demands.