None. There is no regulation requiring former MEPs to seek authorisation for their subsequent professional activities.
Glyn Ford had 25 years experience as an MEP before he lost his seat in the European elections of 2009. He is standing again on the Labour list in the 2014 elections.
After leaving the European Parliament, Ford joined the G+ lobby consultancy. G+ advertises Glyn Ford on its website as a senior adviser on East Asia policy, referring to Ford's East Asia policy experience from his 25 years as an MEP:
“At the European Parliament he served on both the International Trade and Foreign Affairs Committees, particularly on dossiers related to Asia, giving him unrivalled knowledge and networks in Brussels and Strasbourg. During his time as an MEP, Glyn was responsible for following the free-trade agreement with the ASEAN group of countries, for implementing the Scientific Partnership Agreement with the Republic of Korea, and he was shadow draftsman on the EU-Japan and EU-China trade agreements. Glyn was also a member of the delegation with the Japanese Diet from 1984 to 2009.”
In 2012 G+'s clients included a number of Japanese clients, according to the EU's Transparency Register including: JEITA (Japan Electronics & Information Technology Industries Association), JMC (Japan Machinery Center for Trade and Investment) and JAMA (Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association).
Ford has also set up Polint, a “UK based EU Consultancy operating in Brussels, specialised in EU Public Affairs and International Relations”. Based on documents registered with Companies House in the UK, it appears that Ford founded Polint within months of leaving the European Parliament in 2009. It offers “offers specialised political and communications strategies, directed primarily at the European Parliament, European Commission and Council...” Polint's client list includes the same Japanese companies listed for G+ and it seems clear that Ford's work for G+ is carried out via his own consultancy.
The EU's Transparency Register does not make clear what specific policy issues Polint is lobbying on for each of its clients but it does indicate that the EU-Japan free trade negotiations are one of the issues which it works on. Ford worked on EU-Japan trade issues whilst an MEP.
Another of Polint's clients is listed as the Government of Gibraltar. For the purposes of the European elections, Gibraltar is part of the UK's south-west region which is the region that Ford represented as an MEP and for which he is standing again in 2014.
CEO is concerned about the risk of conflicts of interest when MEPs go to work for lobby consultancies, especially if they use their insider knowledge and network of contacts gained whilst in public office, to then benefit their corporate clients.
CEO contacted Glyn Ford in advance of publishing this profile but he did not reply to our questions.
The rules in the European Parliament
The current revolving door rules for MEPs are so weak as to be virtually non-existent.
“Former Members of the European Parliament who engage in professional lobbying or representational activities directly linked to the European Union decision-making process may not, throughout the period in which they engage in those activities, benefit from the facilities granted to former Members under the rules laid down by the Bureau to that effect”.
However, there is no process to monitor or enforce this part of the code and ensure that former MEPs do not use their lifelong access pass for lobbying purposes.
A 'James Ford' is registered on the EU Transparency Register, along with three other Polint staff, as a “person accredited for access to European Parliament premises” meaning that this person has applied for and received a lobbyists' access pass. Glyn Ford's full name is James Glyn Ford and it may be that he has applied for an EP pass, separate to his former-MEP pass.
When MEPs leave the European parliament they are entitled to a transitional allowance equivalent to one month's salary for every year they have been an MEP, with a minimum pay-out of six months' salary and a maximum of 24 months.
“There are currently no robust rules governing the revolving door for former MEPs and CEO regrets this. MEPs should not be able to leave the Parliament and then immediately start work as a corporate EU lobbyist as Glyn Ford has done. There is a risk of conflicts of interest arising in such cases.”