RevolvingDoorWatch cases

Eline Post

Nationality: Netherlands

Former employer: DG Competition, Case handler (since 2005)

Date: December, 2010

New employer: Avisa Partners, Senior consultant on competition

Institutional reaction:

“The Appointing Authority gives you its approval to carry out this activity, as described in your request, on condition that you will avoid any situation of conflicts of interest in your new function, particularly you will abstain from dealing with cases on which you have worked in the frame of your functions at DG Comp, and more particularly on the cases listed in the attachment”.In addition, the Commission said: "I regret that you have not introduced your request for authorisation in accordance with the provisions of Article 16 of the Staff Regulations". No sanctions were implemented for this breach in the rules. However, the Commission has admitted that Eline Post received no specific reminder of her obligations when she left. In a letter to CEO, the Commission wrote that "I confirm that there have been no specific or individual communications with Ms Post … with regard to obligations under Article 16 of the Staff Regulations before September 2011. … For your information, all agents working in the Directorate-General for Competition receive a copy of the Ethical Code of the Directorate-General for Competition as well as a presentation of the obligations under the Staff Regulations." Source: Letter from European Commission to Corporate Europe Observatory dated 15 March 2012.

Comment from CEO:

“Ms Post failed to apply for authorisation before she started her new job at Avisa Partners, as she was required to do under the revolving door rules. However, the Commission has also admitted that it did not remind her to do so when she left. The Commission should tighten up on the processes when staff leave to make sure that they are fully aware of their responsibilities."

"Ultimately, the Commission approved Ms Post’s new job at Avisa Partners under the condition that she would abstain from dealing with cases on which she worked at DG Competition. CEO considers that the Commission did not rigorously scrutinise this application for authorisation. The Commission looked at the Avisa website but did not ask for further clarification about what work or clients were specifically involved. Nor did it ask her to clarify what further contacts she was likely to have with the Commission. Despite the ban on Eline Post working on specific cases upon which she had worked whilst at the Commission, we consider that this might not be sufficient to prevent the risk of wider conflicts of interests from developing, nor would such conditions prevent former officials from using their Commission contacts and insider know-how about the internal working processes to benefit their employers and clients. CEO considers that a full two-year cooling off period or ban on accepting such a post would be far more effective in preventing potential conflicts of interest."

Other info:

Avisa Partners has declared to CEO that Ms Post has not and will not work on any case she dealt with while at DG Competition.

“[Eline Post] has a profound understanding of all aspects relating to the life-cycle of cartel cases with particular emphasis on settlements and leniency. In addition, she has made a vital contribution to the organisation, implementation and development of cartel policy”. Source: European Agenda

Avisa Partners describes itself accordingly: “Former senior EU Commission officials founded this bespoke public affairs consultancy in 2007. Providing deep and trusted knowledge of how to navigate the EU institutions, it comprises an eclectic and highly-skilled team of senior consultants and advisors.” Avisa also recruits their clients using the line “You're concerned a competitor or customer has or could complain to the Commission's DG Competition or DG Trade?”. Source: Information from AVISA's website http://www.avisa.eu/about_us

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