Piia-Noora Kauppi

Former employer
European Parliament
Former function
Member of European Parliament (for 9 years)
New function
Managing director
New employer
Federation of Finnish Financial Services (+ now Chair of European Banking Federation)
Policy area
Date of Revolving Door
Institutional reaction

None. There is no regulation requiring former MEPs to seek authorisation for their subsequent professional activities.

Other info

While an MEP for nine years, Kauppi focused on the work of the economic and monetary affairs (ECON) committee, notably financial market legislation. She was rapporteur on several banking-related legislative dossiers such as markets in financial instruments (MiFiD) and on settlement finality in payment and securities settlement systems (SFD) and the directive on financial collateral arrangements (FCD). She was also chairwoman of the European Parliamentary Financial Services Forum which is funded by the finance industry; as a result, Kauppi was “actively involved in dialogue between EU bodies and financial service providers”.

In 2005, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kauppi, while working on a new EU money laundering directive, had “submitted amendments that borrowed word-for-word from the European Banking Industry Committee” which is a major banking industry lobby group. At the time, she acknowledged getting help from EBIC in writing her amendments, saying “I don't remember which ones came from EBIC and which came from other sources”.

Piia-Noora Kauppi resigned as an MEP at the end of 2008 to become managing director of the Federation of Finnish Financial Services (FFI) which represents banks, insurers, finance houses, securities dealers, fund management companies and financial employers operating in Finland. The FFI is registered with the EU Transparency Register and it has no registered European parliamentary lobbyists.

In December 2008, Kauppi was awarded the “worst conflict of interest” award at the “worst lobby awards”, organised by NGOs including Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO). Commenting on the conflict of interest vote, Olivier Hoedeman, from CEO said:

“The voters' choice of Piia-Noora Kauppi reflects real concern about MEPs being too closely aligned with corporate lobbyists. Stronger rules are needed to prevent conflicts of interest.”

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.

When she took up her job at the FFI, Kauppi said:

"I have enjoyed working with financial affairs in the European Parliament very much. Now in my new position, I can make use of the experience gained from EU-level legislation on financial markets. The financial sector will play a more and more important role in the internal market in the future."

Yet Kauppi has told CEO that “There are no overlaps in my present duties with my past work as an MEP” and that she has not thought about the issue of conflicts of interest. CEO contacted Ms Kauppi in advance of publishing this profile; her full response can be read here.

In December 2013, Kauppi was elected as chair of the executive committee of the European Banking Federation, one of Europe's most powerful banking industry lobby groups.

The rules in the European Parliament

The current revolving door rules for MEPs are so weak as to be virtually non-existent.

The code of conduct for MEPs (approved in 2011) states that

“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. Ms Kauppi has not applied for a lobbyist pass; she says that when she visits the Parliament, she always has an invitation from an MEP and that they escort her as required.

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. Ms Kauppi has told CEO that she did not receive the transitional allowance.

Comment from CEO

“The revolving door case of Piia-Noora Kauppi provokes real concerns about the risk of possible conflicts of interest, especially considering the ongoing economic crisis and the need for tough regulation of the banking industry. MEPs should not be able to move seamlessly from public service to EU corporate lobby jobs.”