The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) has today urged President Barroso to put in place new rules to prevent the current crop of European commissioners from going through the revolving door in 2014. As the Barroso II Commission nears the end of its term in office, transparency campaigners believe that the cooling-off period which applies to former commissioners taking on lobby jobs should be extended from 18 months to three years to prevent a repeat of the conflict of interest scandals which dogged the end of the Barroso I Commission.
In 2010 when the Barroso I Commission left office, there was a public outcry when six out of the 13 departing commissioners went almost immediately into the corporate sector or lobby jobs, provoking the risk of possible conflicts of interest. Now in 2014, CEO has looked again at these six former commissioners to see what lessons can be learnt as the Barroso II Commission prepares to leave office later this year.
Yesterday (19 December 2013) the Ombudsman published a damning report into the European Commission's re-appointment of a lawyer with links to the tobacco industry to its ad hoc ethical committee. Here NGOs comment on the ruling which could set an important precedent on handling possible conflicts of interest in the future.