|Read about people who've gone through the revolving door|
Brussels is home to one of the highest concentrations of political power in the world and the revolving door is one of the most important ways in which lobbyists can influence the political agenda in Brussels. When senior European decision-makers leave office and go straight into lobby jobs, or when lobbyists join the EU institutions, the risk of significant conflicts of interest is great, undermining democratic, public-interest decision-making. CEO is working with the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) to challenge the revolving door and to demand that it is effectively regulated.
Together we demand the following:
- A mandatory cooling-off period (or ban) of at least two years for all EU institution staff members entering new posts which involve lobbying or advising on lobbying, or any other role which provoke a conflict of interest with their work as an EU official
- Tackling the loopholes in the current rules including the exclusion of staff working as 'contract agents'
- Scrutiny of all staff joining EU institutions for potential conflicts of interest. Where there is a potential conflict of interest between their old job and their new EU role, those persons must recuse themselves from such matters
- Ensure sufficient resourcing to be able to investigate and monitor revolving door cases
- Publish a full and updated list of all revolving door cases on EU institutions’ websites
As part of our work, CEO co-ordinates RevolvingDoorWatch which highlights cases where the EU institutions may have failed to adequately regulate the risk of conflicts of interest arising from the revolving door. You can contact us or send information to email@example.com
Recently, the European Parliament has been looking at the Commission's proposals to reform the rules which set out EU staff's rights and responsibilities. The Legal Affairs committee has voted to tighten the Revolving Door rules - we hope that the Plenary will maintain this commitment to block the revolving door!
For the first time, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has admitted that it did not take the necessary action to stop revolving doors. EFSA has stated that “regrettably” the authority did not follow up the relevant information. Further, the authority acknowledges that it has strengthened internal rules in response.
Thomas Lönngren. Following correspondence with Dr Lönngren, the ALTER-EU press statement of 19 December 2011 has now been amended and the revised statement is available below.
Munich/ Brussels, 8 December 2011: The European Ombudsman has ruled in favour of a complaint filed by Testbiotech against the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) regarding its approach to the 'revolving door'. The case concerns a former senior staff member at EFSA, Dr Suzy Renckens, who was head of the unit responsible for the risk assessment of genetically engineered plants for five years until 2008. Dr Renckens, a Belgian national, then moved to a job at Syngenta, a company that produces and markets these plants.
The “revolving door” – which appears to link the EU institutions directly to the private sector, allowing employees to move almost effortlessly between the two – is at the heart of the close relationship between the EU institutions and Brussels’ lobby industry.
The Lisbon Treaty, introduced in 2009, substantially increased the Parliament’s legislative power, making MEPs even more attractive to consultancy firms. The Parliament can now accept, amend or reject the content of European legislation that affects every European – making its decision makers worth knowing.
Its new powers mean that greater scrutiny, transparency and accountability are required to minimize any potential conflict of interest and corruption.
Corporate Europe Observatory
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making.