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The ESM, the euro area’s permanent bailout fund set up in 2012, is an international organization that operates behind closed doors, far from public scrutiny. The institution at the heart of EU loans to debt-ridden member states is doing its best to stave off any national influence over the conditions attached to its loans. In addition it is working closely with private consultancies, which appear to have conflicts of interest. However, the ESM is immune to democracy; we have no right to know what it is up to.
Today, as governments meet in Geneva to negotiate a proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), Corporate Europe Observatory, together with 340 other organizations representing hundreds of millions of people from nearly every country, called on governments to abandon the talks. Among the endorsers were 42 major international and regional networks, such as Public Services International (PSI), UNI Global Union, the European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU), the IndustriALL Global Union, the International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF) and the European Attac network.

The push for reform continues from within the European Parliament, from the Ombudsman’s office and from civil society. This year, two Ombudsman inquiries, a Parliament discussion on the use of transitional allowances to prevent conflicts of interest, and finally, Parliament’s reaction to the Commission proposal for reforming Commissioners’ ethics rules all need to be wrapped up.

Here’s a roundup of the various factors that might push a reform of the revolving-door rules in 2018.

The decision of the European Ombudsman to ask the European Central Bank President to end his membership of an opaque and exclusive club dominated by financial corporations is a step towards ending a culture of secretive collusion between regulators and big banks.

CETA has now been provisionally applied. Our new mobile and desktop game Dodgy Deals lets players face some of the dangerous features of trade deals like CETA and shows what is at stake.

91 per cent of meetings held by UK trade ministers (10/2016 - 06/2017) and 70 per cent of meetings held by UK Brexit ministers have been with business, too often big business, interests. This corporate bias in ministerial access is part of an ongoing trend.