The bank fails to answer the allegations concerning President Draghi’s membership of lobby group, lobby watchdog says
The European Central Bank appears to be in denial, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) said today, following the Bank’s formal response to the EU Ombudsman, following the complaint submitted by CEO regarding ECB President Mario Draghi’s membership of the Group of Thirty.
According to the complaint, the ECB President’s membership of the Group of Thirty, which includes representatives of big private banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan, is effectively membership of a lobby group. This violates the ECB's ethics rules as it endangers the independence of the ECB and creates potential conflicts of interest.
In a comment on the ECB’s response, researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory Kenneth Haar said:
“The ECB still claims that the Group of Thirty is not a lobby group, but they have not responded to specific allegations about the Group’s lobbying activities. The reality is that the Group of Thirty is doing lobby work, and the big private banks are actively involved in shaping the Groups of Thirty’s agenda. As a consequence, the Group of Thirty were among the organisations that pushed the kind of lax regulation that paved the way for the financial crisis in 2008.”
“The ECB emphasises the need for the President to have regular dialogue with representatives from public and private banks. But that need can be covered in other ways. Why does it have to be in a private forum that partly operates behind closed doors?
“The ECB claims the Draghi’s membership of the Group of Thirty does not give rise to conflicts of interest, nor violates the provisions of the ethics framework. But we still have not seen the Bank take any action to avoid conflict of interests.”
Corporate Europe Observatory has called for Draghi to step down from the Group of Thirty, and has asked the EU Ombudsman to consider the case. In July the Ombudsman decided to investigate the case.
Corporate Europe Observatory will submit a detailed response to the European Central Bank and the EU Ombudsman on the 28 September.
An overview of the case, including the response from the ECB, is available at: http://www.corporateeurope.org/blog/draghi-and-group-thirty-intro
The ECB's response is available here