Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Hill as finance commissioner should be rejected

The announcement today that Jean-Claude Juncker, president-elect of the European commission, will hand responsibility for financial services to Jonathan Hill compounds CEO's view that British PM David Cameron should withdraw his nomination of Hill.

European Commission. Audiovisual services.
In the view of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), ex-business lobbyists should have no place in a Juncker commission committed to cleaning up lobbying and Hill's career up to now shows that he has no problem with politicians and lobbyists enjoying a cosy relationship, facilitated by an ever-spinning revolving door. Putting Hill in charge of the finance sector where we already know that business interests massively outnumber and outspend public interest groups, is like putting a child in charge of a sweetie shop.

According to figures released by CEO earlier this year, the financial industry spends more than €120 million per year on lobbying in Brussels and employs more than 1700 lobbyists. The financial industry operates via 700 or more organisations, totally out-numbering civil-society organisations and trade unions by a factor of more than seven, with an even stronger dominance when numbers of staff and lobbying expenses are taken into account.

It's no surprise that the City of London Corporation has warmly welcomed Hill's allocation of the financial services role. They said today: “The City welcomes the appointment of Jonathan Hill as the commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union... Lord Hill’s expertise in this area and knowledge of the City of London will be crucial to ensuring the longevity and stability of Europe’s banking sector...” Incidentally, the City of London Corporation employs Quiller Consultants for lobbying services, which just happens to be the lobby firm that Hill co-founded in 1998. Quiller also acts for HSBC bank, among other clients.

Juncker's welcome instruction to all commissioners that they should publish on-line details of all their lobby meetings is not enough to dispel concerns about Hill and his background. Neither is the announcement by Downing Street back in July that Hill would sell his shares in lobby company Huntsworth which owns the EU lobby firm Grayling and UK firm Citigate. MEPs should block Hill's appointment.

In the view of Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), ex-business lobbyists should have no place in a Juncker commission committed to cleaning up lobbying and Hill's career up to now shows that he has no problem with politicians and lobbyists enjoying a cosy relationship, facilitated by an ever-spinning revolving door. Putting Hill in charge of the finance sector where we already know that business interests massively outnumber and outspend public interest groups, is like putting a child in charge of a sweetie shop.According to figures released by CEO earlier this year, the financial industry spends more than €120 million per year on lobbying in Brussels and employs more than 1700 lobbyists. The financial industry operates via 700 or more organisations, totally out-numbering civil-society organisations and trade unions by a factor of more than seven, with an even stronger dominance when numbers of staff and lobbying expenses are taken into account.It's no surprise that the City of London Corporation has warmly welcomed Hill's allocation of the financial services role. They said today: “The City welcomes the appointment of Jonathan Hill as the commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union... Lord Hill’s expertise in this area and knowledge of the City of London will be crucial to ensuring the longevity and stability of Europe’s banking sector...” Incidentally, the City of London Corporation employs Quiller Consultants for lobbying services, which just happens to be the lobby firm that Hill co-founded in 1998. Quiller also acts for HSBC bank, among other clients.Juncker's welcome instruction to all commissioners that they should publish on-line details of all their lobby meetings is not enough to dispel concerns about Hill and his background. Neither is the announcement by Downing Street back in July that Hill would sell his shares in lobby company Huntsworth which owns the EU lobby firm Grayling and UK firm Citigate. MEPs should block Hill's appointment.
 

Comments

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The current UK administration has developed favouratism to Big Business that reflects the ethos of Brussels. Only fundamental change in the constitutional structures at european and national levels are required to establish an even-handed approach to business, consumer, employee and ecological interests.

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Never before has a former European Commission official been criticised as much for his post-EU career as ex-Commission president Barroso upon joining infamous US investment bank Goldman Sachs this summer. Citizens are outraged and evidence already points towards a gross violation of the EU Treaty.

Following the high-level appointment of former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to Goldman Sachs, NGOs have launched a petition demanding stricter rules for ex-EU commissioners’ revolving door moves.

José Manuel Barroso's move to Goldman Sachs has catapulted the EU’s revolving door problem onto the political agenda. It is symbolic of the excessive corporate influence at the highest levels of the EU.

Story

A telling mistake

Ms Barbara Gallani, who will become EFSA's Director for Communications from 1 May, was up until late March 2016 working for the largest lobby group for the food and drink industry in the UK, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

A few weeks after the May coup against Dilma Rousseff by conservative parties backed by the country's largest corporations, Brazil's “interim” government, led by Michel Temer, signed an emergency loan to the State of Rio de Janeiro to help finance infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics. The bailout was conditional to selling off the State's public water supply and sanitation company, the Companhia Estadual de Águas e Esgotos (Cedae). 

When we interviewed City Councillor and chair of Rio’s Special Committee on the Water Crisis Renato Cinco, in December 2015, he was already warning against such privatisation threats and provided important background information on the water situation in Rio.

Never before has a former European Commission official been criticised as much for his post-EU career as ex-Commission president Barroso upon joining infamous US investment bank Goldman Sachs this summer. Citizens are outraged and evidence already points towards a gross violation of the EU Treaty.

Following the high-level appointment of former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to Goldman Sachs, NGOs have launched a petition demanding stricter rules for ex-EU commissioners’ revolving door moves.

Corporate Europe Observatory's new report 'A spoonful of sugar' illustrates how the sugar lobby undermines existing laws and fights off much-needed measures that are vital for tackling Europe’s looming obesity crisis.

 
 
 
 
 
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