RevolvingDoorWatch cases

Darren Ennis

Nationality: Ireland

Former employer: European External Action Service, Media and Strategic Communications adviser to Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security

Date: September, 2011

New employer: MHP Communications, Brussels, Director

Institutional reaction:

"Mr Ennis has not had access to sensitive information during his time with the European External Action Service and was consequently not deemed subject to the obligation of requesting authorisation to take up an offer from another employer in accordance with Article 16 of the Staff Regulations". (Letter to CEO from David O'Sullivan, EEAS, 8 February 2012)

Comment from CEO:

"This case illustrates one of the major loopholes in the EU's revolving door rules. While Mr Ennis had only been working for the European External Action Service (EEAS) for a month when he resigned, in fact he had been working for Catherine Ashton for a much longer period of time (since December 2009). However, it does not appear that the EEAS took either his overall length of EU institutional service or the nature of his work during that full period into consideration when thinking about Mr Ennis's case under the revolving door rules. According to the letter sent to CEO by the EEAS on 8 February 2012, the EEAS appears to have used the loophole in the revolving door rules which allows for contract staff to be excluded from consideration under the rules if they are deemed to have not had access to sensitive information. This is regrettable as Mr Ennis's move to MHP Communications was not scrutinised for any potential conflicts of interest".

Other info:

Mr Ennis only worked for the newly-created European External Action Service (on a temporary basis) from 16 May 2011 until he resigned on 16 June 2011. However, in fact he had worked for Catherine Ashton for a much longer period. MHP's website says that "Upon her appointment [December 2009], High Representative & Vice President Ashton personally appointed him as her media and strategic communications advisor giving him a key role in developing her narrative for EU foreign policy and helping deliver her political messages to world leaders and media around the globe. He was responsible for creating the communications team that now supports the European External Action Service – the EU diplomatic service - and was a leading member of HRVP Ashton's European Parliament policy team." http://www.mhpc.com/our-expertise/people 

MHP says that it prides itself on "understand[ing] how Brussels and the EU works. We know the policymakers and decision-takers at the heart of the EU institutions and beyond. We know what policies will be effective and how to get them implemented. Crucially, we can build alliances and mobilise policy, politics and the media to support your cause. ... With MHP, you will have the best people on your side. People from across Europe who understand the minutiae of European decision-making but also understand the bigger picture. People who know the key stakeholders and how best to reach them." http://www.mhpc.com/global-reach/brussels

CEO has requested copies of documents relating to this case from the EEAS. However, the EEAS has told us that Mr Ennis has not given his permission for the release of these documents and as a result, they will not release them.

Update, February 2015

Since this RevolvingDoorWatch entry was fist published, Ennis has moved on from MHP to become Special Advisor, Arriyadh Development Authority; Special Advisor, Corporate Affairs, Global Multinational; Strategic Communications Advisor, Nuclear Management Partners; and now, Head of Media, Stakeholder Relations, Sellafield Ltd, according to his linked-in profile.

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