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Carl Haglund

Former employer: 
European Parliament + Finnish government
Former function: 
Member of European Parliament (for 3 years) + defence minister
New function: 
Board member
New employer: 
Miltton group
Nationality: 
Finland
Date of Revolving Door: 
September, 2015
Institutional reaction: 

None. In the Finnish Parliament, where Haglund remains a sitting MP, there are no rules on conflicts of interest or revolving doors. The only requirement is to make a declaration of interest. 

There is also no regulation requiring former MEPs to seek authorisation for their subsequent activities. The code of conduct for MEPs (approved in 2011) only 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”. 

Other info: 

Carl Haglund (Finland, ALDE) was an MEP for three years from 2009 to 2012. During that time he sat on the fisheries committee (where he was vice-chair) and the budget committee; he was also a substitute member of the economic and monetary affairs committee (which has a history of revolving door moves; see this article) and the special committee on the financial, economic and social crisis which was set up after the financial crash of the late noughties. During this time he was rapporteur on several reports connected to fishery policy and one on macroeconomic imbalances in the eurozone.

Haglund left the European Parliament in 2012 when he became the chairperson of the Swedish People's Party (Svenska Folkpartiet), a position he still holds, and Finnish defence minister (a position he held until May 2015). His declaration of interest from his time as a minister is available here. In April 2015 he became a national MP and his declaration of interest is here.

In September 2015, Miltton group announced that Haglund would join its board (in an unpaid capacity) with immediate effect. Miltton is a Finnish public relations and corporate communications company which has now expanded into other areas including “investor relations, advertising and international services”. Its website says that Miltton Networks (which makes up 15 per cent of the Miltton group and has a separate board)

is the leading actor in the Finnish public affairs sphere. Its core services consist of first-class knowledge of the governmental decision-making process, identifying political risks and opportunities linked to our customers’ businesses, and strategic counselling in public affairs.”

In reply to questions from CEO, Haglund said that “I will not work with any sectors / clients etc.” He also denied that there was any risk of conflicts of interest saying “If there would be a conflict of interest I would not had taken on this board membership.” He also said that “as a member of the board I will of course follow from a distance also [the Brussels office] part of the group.” His full response can be read here.

The press release which announced Haglund's recruitment emphasised the usefulness of Haglund's MEP background saying:

“An understanding of EU decision-making and advocacy at EU level have an increasingly larger effect on the success of Nordic companies. Carl Haglund brings to Miltton an understanding of the Nordic operational environment as well as personal experience of decision-making in the EU. Miltton will be focusing on developing its functions in Brussels in the near future.”

Miltton Network's Brussels office was set up in Autumn 2014 (as a joint venture with Danish agency Holm Kommunikation) and it says that it

“offers the service, which includes the decision-making follow-up and customer interests lobbying at all levels of decision making from the EU policy for the national framework of the implementation.”

In another revolving doors move, Miltton recently announced that Jan Store, the former Finnish permanent representative (2008-13) to the EU would head up its Brussels office. Upon his recruitment by Miltton, Store said:

“Decisions taken in Brussels are crucial for enterprises and economic actors ... Finnish and Nordic enterprises need a solid understanding of the decision-making process and an effective and proactive channel of influence at the core of European policy-making.”

Miltton is part of the EU lobby transparency register. Until recently it was registered as Miltton Networks Oy: for the financial year 2013 it recorded lobby revenue of up to €99,999 with clients Liikennevirasto (government traffic agency), Rakennusteollisuus (construction industry confederation), and Gasum Oy. Gasum imports natural gas and transports it around the country and beyond, including to Germany. It is owned 75 per cent by the Finnish state and 25 per cent by Russia's Gazprom, the “world's largest producer of gas”. Gasum's 2014 turnover was 1079 million euros.

As of 30 September 2015, Miltton's original registration appears to have been replaced by a new one for Miltton Brussels. Its clients remain as Rakennusteollisuus (€10,000-€24,999) and Gasum Oy (€50,000-€99,999). It says it works in a variety of areas “Finance, Climate Action, Competition, Energy, Environment, Informatics, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Mobility and Transport, Research and Innovation, Trade and EFSI”.

Miltton appears to be an active lobbyist in Brussels. Transparency International's Integritywatch shows that between December 2014 and July 2015, it held three lobby meetings with the senior levels of the Commission:

Nr

Host

Portfolio

Date

Subject

Lobby Organisation

1

Aura Salla

Jobs & Growth

14/1/2015

Construction industry

Miltton Networks Oy (Miltton)

2

Grzegorz Radziejewski

Jobs & Growth

4/6/2015

Industrial Policy

Miltton Networks Oy (Miltton)

3

Desiree Oen

Transport

6/2/2015

Infrastructure projects

Miltton Networks Oy (Miltton)

Unfortunately, no minutes or attendance lists for these meetings are available, nor is it known whether Miltton was representing itself or a client during these meetings.

Miltton has recruited a number of other current or recent political figures recently from across the political spectrum, including the managing director of Miltton Networks Jussi Kekkonen who joined straight from Prime Minister Katainen's inner circle in September 2012; Tuuli Kousa (previously the special adviser to Pekka Haavisto, a minister of state); Centre Party advisor Anna-Mari Vimpari; and the former secretary general of the True Finns parliamentary group, Toni Kokko.
 

Comment from CEO: 

“It is a clear failure of Finnish politics that a sitting MP can serve on the board of Miltton group, considering its interest in political lobbying, both at the national and EU levels. The case of Carl Haglund is very noteworthy since he is also the chairperson of a political party as well as a recent minister and former MEP. Miltton appears to have systematically hired current or former political appointees in recent times and by exploiting the absence of revolving doors regulations in Finland, Miltton undermines the integrity of political decision-making. Corporate Europe Observatory calls upon the Finnish government and parliament to urgently set up best practice regulation.”

 

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