Open letter members of the Budgetary Control committee of the European Parliament
ALTER-EU believes that the current rules governing the 'revolving door' - when EU staff move between the EU institutions and the Brussels lobby industry creating the risk of conflicts of interest - are inadequate and in need of urgent reform. We have documented a wide range of cases in which officials or former officials have undertaken job moves which created the risk of conflicts of interest, but where the EU institution response was inadequate.
These cases include Mogens Peter Carl who was Director-General at DG Environment. Just six months after leaving, Mr Carl became senior adviser to Kreab Gavin Andersen, one of Brussels’ biggest lobby consultancies. The Commission did not impose any cooling-off period on Carl. Another case is that of Derek Taylor who was a senior energy adviser working for DG Energy who, within weeks of retiring from the Commission, set up his own consultancy and started to work for Burson-Marsteller to work as an energy adviser. Derek Taylor’s move was not authorised by the Commission at the time; permission was only sought two years later after ALTER-EU raised the case with the Commission. In the end, the Commission placed no restrictions on Mr Taylor's work. More information about these cases can be found on the ALTER-EU website, including a detailed report with further information: http://www.alter-eu.org/revolving-doors/
As a result, ALTER-EU considers that there should be:
- A mandatory cooling-off period of at least two years for all EU institution staff members entering new posts which involve lobbying or advising on lobbying, or any other role which provoke a conflict of interest with their work as an EU staff member
- A ban on any EU institution staff member undertaking a sabbatical which involves lobbying, providing lobbying advice, or which provokes a conflict of interest with their work as an EU staff member
- Full scrutiny of potential conflicts of interest when staff join the EU institutions. Where there is a potential conflict of interest between their old job and their new EU role, those persons must be recused from such handling matters
- Transparency of 'revolving door' cases on EU institutions’ websites
In the light of this, ALTER-EU strongly recommends that Members of the CONT committee support amendments 35, 36, 37, 38, 41 and 42 at the vote on Tuesday 20 March 2012.