Halt the Brussels revolving door

31 January 2017

Halt the Brussels revolving door

Foto: SP

On the basis of today’s report from anticorruption group Transparency International’s report ´Access All Areas - When EU politicians become lobbyists´, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong believes it’s time to see rapid measures taken to put a stop to the revolving jobs door in Brussels and intends to include this in his report on the European Parliament’s accounts. “A third of MEPs and fully half of the Commissioners turn out, at the end of their term of office, to go to work as lobbyists in the Brussels bubble”. This leads to a closed system, where big corporations, but not the general public, are welcome. The rules on cooling off periods and integrity during and after these periods must now, at last, be amended. I get a queasy feeling from fellow Members who claim to be defending the general interest and at the end of their term go straight into working as lobbyists.’

As co-chair of the multi-party European Parliament Intergroup on Integrity, Transparency, Corruption and Organised Crime has frequently called for the prolongation of the cooling-off period for European Commissioners and a ban on moonlighting as well as the introduction of a cooling-off period for MEPs. “If we don’t do something,” says De Jong, the bubble simply won’t be popped. The European public justifiably see the EU institutions as job factories for the establishment. The revolving door must also be ended as soon as possible. Only if Brussels becomes an open system, a system in which the public’s voice weighs more heavily than the voice of the big corporations will there be any kind of future for European cooperation. Otherwise there’s a big chance that as always happens with ever-growing bubble the bubble will pop.”

It is for this reason that De Jong supports Transparency International’s demands, as he explains. “I want to see a prolongation of the cooling off period for European Commissioners to three years, and the introduction of a two-year cooling-off period for MEPs. During their period of office as representatives of the people, MEPs must not have other paid jobs. An independent ethical commission should be established which would closely supervise the application of the integrity rules. The report from Transparency International has shown that we don’t have a moment more to lose. The proposals must be implemented now. In my report on the European Parliament’s accounts that I will be completing next week, I have included precise proposals for the rapid introduction of these measures.”

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