Today, EU Ombudswoman Emily O’ Reilly published her recommendations to the EU-Commission to reopen the revolving door case of José Manuel Barroso. The former President of the Commission is currently employee of Goldman Sachs. He committed not to lobby the EU Commission, of which he is the former President, during a first review of his new role by the Commission’s Ethics Committee. However, it has now become known that Barroso has met with Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen. The Commission’s new ethics rules came into force at the beginning of February. The Commission had adopted weaker rules than requested by the Parliament.
Sven Giegold, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for “Transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions”, comments:
“Commission’s ethics guardians must now scrutinise rigorously whether Barroso has broken his own commitment. The committee now has a chance to restore the credibility of the rules against the revolving door. The revolving door between former Commissioners and lobbying jobs must be closed. We need clear and verifiable conditions for the new employment of ex-Commissioners. If rules have been broken, the Commission must impose sanctions, also to restore people’s confidence.
Following the recent reform of the ethics rules, the Commission must show whether it is at least ready to exhaust all existing possibilities. The Ombudswoman’s recommendations for a next reform of the ethics rules – including the call for more members for the Ethics Committee – should be implemented jointly by Commission and Parliament. The best way to remedy the existing lack of independence in the ethics system is for the EU institutions to send representatives to a joint ethics committee investigating cases and recommending sanctions. This ethics committee should be able to initiate investigations and publish its decisions.”
Press release of the EU Ombudswoman: https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/press/release.faces/en/91185/html.bookmark
Inquiry and recommendations by the EU Ombudswoman: https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/cases/recommendation.faces/en/90956/html.bookmark
New ethics rules of the EU Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/draft-code-of-conduct-for-commissioners-2017_en.pdf