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Friday, January 27, 2023

The not yet revealed close connections of the Golob’s with an international covert lobbying company

By: Vida Kocjan

We found out online that Andreja Kert, an MP from the Gibanje Svoboda party, is a director at MC Public Affairs (MCPA) based in Brussels. We were interested in whether directorship is compatible with the post of an MP.

The answer from the Gibanje Svoboda party is that the MP is not a director of this company, but she worked with the company before taking up her position as an MP. They added that the duty to update the data with whom the company cooperates is not the duty of the MP, but of those responsible in the company. The fact that Andreja Kert cooperated with a lobbying company is, of course, new in Slovenia, she has not yet disclosed this.

MCPA is engaged in lobbying and is part of the international public affairs and lobbying network FIDRA. They state that they have a public affairs and lobbying license in Slovenia, they operate in more than 50 countries and “have the best experts in public affairs, lobbying, economic analysis, and legal control”. Since Andreja Kert was a director in the company, we were also interested in whether she was also a registered lobbyist. They answered us: “No, she was never a registered lobbyist.”

Unit in Ljubljana

From the website of MC Public Affairs (MCPA), it is clear that it is a London and Slovenian company, with headquarters in Brussels, and its unit in Ljubljana, at Župančičeva Street 10. In addition to Slovenia, they also have representatives and partners in Croatia and Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Luxembourg, and Brussels.

In their presentation, they state that their work is based on five key principles: lobbying, carefully selected partners, economic diplomacy, strategic communication, elimination of legislative and administrative obstacles for clients. MCPA represents various international companies and corporations, public institutions, and government agencies, along with businesses and non-governmental organisations.

Green technologies

MCPA’s clients have a background in green technologies, promoting and implementing environmentally friendly solutions primarily in the automotive industry. MCPA works with regional parliaments and governments, where they provide unique solutions for the establishment of eco-funds, subsidies and public procurement related to lower CO2 emissions, while emphasising green tax levies. They also cite tourism and add: “MCPA provides a perfect case for launching the creative use of green policies in all the countries in which we operate. We provide unique solutions that can be implemented both in the EU and internationally.”

Leader Mihael Cigler, connected to the SD party and Soros

The leader is Mihael Cigler, who is also the president of the Slovenian Association of Lobbyists. In his introduction, he states that he specialises in political lobbying and campaigning, environmental policies and climate change, REACH directive, European tenders and pharmaceutical-related issues for multinational companies, MSP, governments, NGOs, and political parties. In 1997, he was also appointed project director of the Central Eastern Health Advocacy project, funded by the Soros Foundation to promote patient rights, and deinstitutionalise health and social care systems in Central and Eastern Europe. He is closely associated with the Social Democrats (SD) party.

Gaber also worked with Cigler

Photos online also show that Tina Gaber, a registered lobbyist until a few days ago when it was revealed that she was allegedly an associate of Robert Golob, also worked with MC Public Affairs (MCPA). As a lobbyist and associate of the MCPA, Gaber is also immortalised in some photos, together with Cigler, and she told Siol.net on November 8th, 2020, that “I am still part of the MC Public Affairs team”.

Kert hid the work in a lobbying company from the public

If Andreja Kert was a director in the MCPA and was no longer supposed to be an MP, as she informed us through the public relations service at the Gibanje Svoboda party, it is not disputed. It is strange, however, that Andreja Kert never mentioned this publicly before the elections in Slovenia.

Before last year’s April elections, she presented herself as a candidate as a former employee of the National Assembly, she also held leading positions in various ministries. She also wrote that she managed the administration of the University of Ljubljana, the Service for European Cohesion Policy, and a private higher education institution. “Currently, she runs her own consulting company,” Gibanje Svoboda party reported at the time. However, this was not the company MCPA, where she was definitely the director, which was also confirmed today, but the company Ekonius, a business and legal consultancy based in Kranj. She founded the company in December 2014 and is still the owner today. On May 9th, 2022, she transferred the directorship to Sandra Kert.

Commission for preventing corruption

We also asked the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption for their opinion regarding Andreja Kert. When we receive a response, we will publish it.

Evidence of Andreja Kert as the director of the company MC Public Affairs and of this lobbying company itself, also based in Ljubljana. Source website: About Us – MC Public Affairs

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