The permanent representations of EU member states are not covered by the revolving door rules contained in the EU institutions' staff regulations. The Dutch permanent representation has told CEO that
“... there is no anti-competition policy for Dutch civil servants. Employees can resign whenever they see fit - taking into account a notice period of at least two (2) months - and take up any new position.”
According to her linked-in profile, Kuiper was an attaché at the Netherlands' permanent representation to the EU for three and half years up to April 2014. She represented the Netherlands in EU negotiations in the field of health, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Prior to that she worked as a political advisor at the Dutch ministry for health, welfare and sport for three years.
During her time at the permanent representation Kuiper is likely to have followed a number of legislative dossiers which could include: regulation on clinical trials, the directive and regulation on pharmacovigilance and regulations on medical devices and on in vitro diagnostic medical devices. Other, non-legislative dossiers that she is likely to have covered include: council conclusions on the "reflection process on modern, responsive and sustainable health systems" and council conclusions on healthy ageing.
As such, Kuiper is likely to have had access to privileged information concerning the position of her own government and of other member states on many health-related issues.
According to a press release by the European federation of pharmaceutical industries (EPFIA), Ms Kuiper was appointed as part of its efforts to
“improve its service to EU-level policymakers and expand its capabilities to represent its members”.
According to its website, EPFIA
“brings together 33 European national pharmaceutical industry associations as well as 40 leading companies undertaking research, development and the manufacture in Europe of medicinal products for human use.”
In 2013, it declared an expenditure of €551,820 on activities covered by the EU's lobby transparency register.
EFPIA was linked to another recent EU revolving doors move, namely Stefano Marino who was chairman of the trademark committee at EFPIA from 2005 to 2013, as well as director of corporate legal and intellectual property at a pharmaceutical company, before he joined the European medicines agency as head of legal department in June 2013.
Ms Kuiper was contacted in advance of publication of this article but she did not reply to CEO's questions.
“This case illustrates how the problem of revolving doors in Brussels extends beyond the EU institutions and into the permanent representations too. It's shocking that someone with direct government experience of working on pharmaceutical issues at the EU level has been able to move directly to a pharma lobby group without restriction. It's high time the Dutch government created some ethics rules to guard against the risk of conflicts of interest and that other member states follow suit. Otherwise, the member states risk operating in an ethics vacuum.”