NGOs respond to EU ombudsman and commission on revolving doors

Read our response to the EU ombudsman in her inquiry into the commission's handling of the revolving door.

In October 2012, four NGOs (Corporate Europe Observatory, Greenpeace European Unit, LobbyControl and Spinwatch) submitted a comprehensive complaint to the European ombudsman regarding the way in which the commission handles the revolving door and the possible risk of conflicts of interest which can arise when commission staff join from, or leave for, the lobby industry.

In response to a request from the ombudsman, the NGOs have now submitted a detailed reply to the commission's defence of their revolving door policy and practice. Our top priority areas for action are as follows and we hope that they will form part of the ombudsman's final recommendations. We consider that the commission should:

  • Overhaul its thinking and assessment of conflicts of interest, including the need to fully reflect upon potential conflicts, the risks of direct and indirect lobbying, and the threat of policy capture

  • Introduce independent assessment of conflicts of interest

  • Introduce a central register and pro-active transparency around (senior) incoming and outgoing revolving door cases

  • Develop a far more comprehensive way to assess the revolving door moves of contract staff.

We also consider that the staff regulations require further revision, to introduce a mandatory cooling-off period of at least two years for all EU institution staff members (and three years for the most senior officials) entering new posts which involve lobbying (or other jobs which provoke the risk of a conflict of interest) and a rule change to ensure that the rules explicitly cover staff working as temporary or contract agents.

The full NGO response can be read here.