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Open letter urges Parliament to reject Oettinger’s appointment as head of Commission HR

Corporate Europe Observatory joined forces with nine other civil society organisations working for equality, non-discrimination, transparent decision-making and strong ethics rules, urging the European Parliament in an open letter to oppose Commissioner Oettinger’s appointment as the Comission’s head of human resources.

The series of racist, sexist and homophobic remarks which Oettinger made in his role as EU Commissioner at an event in October last year, has clearly shown that he is unfit to lead a department that is so crucial for ensuring equality, non-discrimination and ethics within and across the large body of Commission staff.

There are additional concerns over opaque interactions Commissioner Oettinger has had with lobbyists. According to Oettinger’s meetings list, he has failed to keep any appropriate balance in his consultation of stakeholders: over 90% of his meetings were with corporate lobbyists.

As if that wasn’t enough, Oettinger in 2016 also accepted a flight in the private jet of an unregistered lobbyist – who incidentally accompanied him on the trip. The details of this flight are still unclear but Commissioner Oettinger has potentially broken ethics rules by accepting a meeting with an unregistered lobbyist and, further, failing to disclose this meeting.

Next Monday, 9 January 2016, Commissioner Oettinger will attend a Parliament hearing regarding his suitability to take over the Budget and Human Resources portfolio at the Commission – an “exchange of views” that presents the final ‘hurdle’ on his way into the role.

Civil society organisations are now asking the Parliament to reject his appointment as head of human resources, as his track record has clearly shown that he is a highly inappropriate candidate for the position.

The responsibility to ensure a safe, non-discriminatory and non-threatening working environment for employees, and to implement transparency and ethics rules across the Commission’s staff must not be placed in the hands of somebody who has so grossly disregarded these notions himself.

Read the full letter here.

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