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Juncker’s “shoddy” approach to lobbying by ex-European Commissioners

23 November 2016

Juncker’s “shoddy” approach to lobbying by ex-European Commissioners

Recent weeks have seen a flood of media coverage of scandals, with former European Commissioners in the leading roles. In order to prevent a repeat of such scandals, Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has adopted a number of new measures. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong isn’t satisfied by Juncker’s actions, however.

“As chair of the European Parliament Transparency Intergroup, I’ve repeatedly urged that the ban on ex-Commissioners conducting lobbying activities be extended to three years,” he explains. “Juncker has proposed such a period, but only for the president of the Commission, with a two year cooling-off period for other Commissioners. It’s hard to understand why they receive three years’ money as a retainer, yet after just two years can work as lobbyists. This is hard to explain to the public, and it’s just asking for the next scandal involving a Commissioner who can’t resist the gilt-edged invitation from a major corporation.”

De Jong has regularly put questions on the issue to the Commission and together with other Transparency Intergroup members from all of the major political groups in the EP has been urging that the integrity rules be tightened up. “Reform of the Commission’s Ethics Advisory Committee so that it is truly independent, and transparency regarding its decisions are also on our wish-list,” says De Jong, “as is the drawing up of binding guidelines for ex-Commissioners regarding integrity of behaviour during their cooling-off period. It’s a pity that all of this is necessary but evidently it’s the only way to address the grasping behaviour of these ladies and gentlemen. Juncker’s approach on this is shoddy work.”

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