“EU Commission President Junker pledged to usher in an accountable and more transparent executive, so he must quickly get control of this revolving door. The rules governing the limitations to the activity of former Commissioners are not strong enough”, said Dublin MEP Nessa Childers today.
Ms Childers, a member of a cross-party anti-corruption group in the European Parliament was speaking in reaction to a European lobby watchdog report on the Barroso II Commission.
“The research compiled and released yesterday shows one in every three former EU Commissioners joining large corporate outfits or bodies with close links to big business.
“From top roles in banks and finance, through the media, to telecoms, all capped by Mr. Barroso’s ‘22 roles’, including the steering group of the Bilderberg conferences. The optics alone are appalling.
“The EU Commission has the exclusive right to initiate EU legislation and has vast regulatory powers, and once again at the end of a term of office in the EU Commission we see a lot of extremely problematic moves into the private interests they were previously responsible for regulating.
“At the end of the previous Commission in 2009 we saw my fellow countryman, Mr. McCreevy reap the dividends of championing deregulation as Internal Market committee as he took seats on the boards of Ryanair and financiers BNY Mellon, among others.
“Then, I made my voice heard together with dozens of thousands of citizens, and the outrage spurred some changes to the code of conduct for Commissioners.
“But once again, their lax nature and poor implementation left the doors right open for upwardly mobile ex-politicians. This raises a lot of questions in terms of propriety and once more undermines citizens’ trust in our institutions.
“Apart from a couple of withdrawn submissions by the ex-Commissioner applicants, every single request to take on paid roles in the private sector was waived through by the Juncker’s Commission.
“Commissioners can already enjoy a transitional allowance for three years, upon leaving office, and yet the ban on lobbying the Commission which applies to them lasts for only half this period.
“Moreover, limiting this ban to direct contact with the Commission on matters pertaining to their former portfolio is manifestly narrow. This excludes indirect advice on how and whom to contact, and all policy areas they had a vote on as members of the Cabinet, as well as approaches to the other institutions.
“This is starkly at odds with the vagueness of the rules when it comes to conflicts of interest, the nature of occupations and the lack of any independent assessment of the requests, just to name a few of the problems blighting these streams of golden parachutists.”
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Yesterday’s report on the Barroso II Commission revolving door cases, from the EU NGO Corporate Europe Observatory, which monitors lobbying activities in Brussels, can be accessed on: