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Fiona Hall

Former employer: 
European parliament
Former function: 
Member of European parliament (for 10 years)
New function: 
Senior policy advisor to its energy efficiency team
New employer: 
Rockwool International A/S (Hall's major consultancy client)
Nationality: 
UK
Policy area: 
Date of Revolving Door: 
September, 2014
Institutional reaction: 

None. There is no regulation requiring former MEPs to seek authorisation for their subsequent professional activities.

Other info: 

Fiona Hall was an MEP for 10 years from 2004 to 2014; she did not contest the recent European elections. She became leader of the liberal democrats in the European parliament in 2009 and was a member of the parliament's bureau.

Hall spent 10 years on the parliament's industry, research and energy committee. Here, she took the lead role for the group of MEPs in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) on dossiers such as the 2030 framework for energy and climate change policies, the energy efficiency directive, the recast of the energy performance of buildings directive and the renewable energy directive.

Hall remains a member of the European forum on renewable energy sources (EUFORES) which is a “European cross-party network of Members of Parliaments from the European Parliament as well as from the EU28 national and regional Parliaments. EUFORES core objective is the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency”. Companies and industry associations are also eligible to join EUFORES and to sponsor their activities and events.

In June 2014, it was announced that Hall would join Rockwool International A/S as senior policy advisor to its energy efficiency team starting 1 September 2014. Rockwool is a major Danish company which provides insulation materials for buildings. It has operations in more than 30 countries and in 2013 generated sales of nearly €2 billion.

Rockwool is listed in the EU lobby transparency register; in 2012 (the most recent year for which its figures are available), Rockwool declared lobby spending of €300,000 - €350,000, and it worked primarily on energy efficiency of buildings; construction products regulation; sustainability; and fire safety. Rockwool is also listed as a lobby client of major lobby firm cabinet DN in 2013.

Fiona Hall has told CEO that

“I will be working from September not for Rockwool but as a self-employed energy policy advisor, with Rockwool as my major client. This is an alignment of interest rather than a conflict of interest: as manufacturers of insulation Rockwool have a commercial interest in promoting energy efficiency, whereas I want to do so because I believe that energy efficiency is the neglected silver bullet which can solve so many of the problems we currently face. I also think it is helpful that there are some corporate interests as well as NGOs lobbying in favour of energy efficiency, because there are huge commercial interests lobbying on the other side of the argument – notably the fossil fuel and nuclear industries.”

She has also said that

“As a consultant I will of course be registering on the transparency register and applying for a lobbyist pass”.

Her full reply can be read here.

The rules in the European Parliament

The current revolving door rules for MEPs are so weak as to be virtually non-existent. The code of conduct for MEPs (approved in 2011) 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”.

However, there is no process to monitor or enforce this part of the code and ensure that former MEPs do not use their lifelong access pass for lobbying purposes.

When MEPs leave the European parliament they are entitled to a transitional allowance equivalent to one month's salary for every year they have been an MEP, with a minimum pay-out of six months' salary and a maximum of 24 months.

Update 22 September 2015: Fiona Hall joined the EU's lobby transparency register in August 2014. Her entry says that she provides "advice and services primarily in the fields of energy, climate change, environment, democracy and development, with the goal of building a fair and sustainable world" and that she is currently active on the following dossiers: EP report on European Energy Security Strategy, Regulation on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, and the Energy Union Package. She has an European Parliament pass (at least until 30/9/2015) and she declares one client, Rockwool, who provides €100,000 - €199,999 of lobby revenue in this financial year.

Comment from CEO: 

“It is clear that Fiona Hall has been a strong supporter of energy efficiency, both prior to and during her time as an MEP. But when MEPs move from working on a specific issue within the parliament to then working on the same issue for private interests, it is important that there are some safeguards in place to prevent any possible risk that companies are 'buying' insider knowledge. In CEO's view, the MEP code of conduct should be reformed to put in place safeguards so that private clients do not benefit from ex-MEPs' insider know-how and likely privileged access to decision-makers.”

 

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