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Revolving door complaint to Ombudsman

Complaint filed to the European Ombudsman against the European Commission, for failing to curb the revolving door through proper implementation of the EU Staff Regulations. Submitted by Corporate Europe Observatory, Greenpeace, Lobbycontrol and Spinwatch.

This complaint concerns the failure of the European Commission to adequately implement the 'revolving door' rules, in order to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest arising. The 'revolving door' is a recognised
phenomenon describing the movement of staff from public sector positions to lobby jobs in the private sector, or vice versa. This process contribues to the corporate capture of the EU.

The inadequate implementation of the rules by the Commission has occurred in a range of different cases which are detailed in the complaint.

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One third of the people who occupied top positions in the Directorate‑General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) during the period 2008-2017 either came from the financial industry or went there after their time at the Commission.

The push for reform continues from within the European Parliament, from the Ombudsman’s office and from civil society. This year, two Ombudsman inquiries, a Parliament discussion on the use of transitional allowances to prevent conflicts of interest, and finally, Parliament’s reaction to the Commission proposal for reforming Commissioners’ ethics rules all need to be wrapped up.

Here’s a roundup of the various factors that might push a reform of the revolving-door rules in 2018.

It took president Juncker over a year to propose new ethics rules for Commissioners after ex-President Barroso had shocked Europe with his new job at Goldman Sachs. A year of inaction later, the Commission is now in a hurry to implement a lackluster reform.

The European Ombudsman has completed her own initiative inquiry into European Commission Special Advisers by publishing a list of 10 “suggestions” for reform, especially regarding conflicts of interest assessment. Will the Commission heed her advice?

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