Commission urged to do more to tackle the Revolving Door Phenomenon
Brussels, November 2011 – The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation has launched a new report which calls on the EU institutions to work more actively to block the “revolving door”, by which EU staff move from public sector positions to jobs in the private sector, and vice versa.
ALTER EU’s major concern about the revolving door phenomenon is the potential for conflicts of interest to arise if ex-officials abuse the know-how, contacts or status acquired through their public sector jobs to provide their new employers or clients with invaluable insights, undue influence and privileged access.
The report, “Block the Revolving Door! Why we need to stop EU officials becoming lobbyists”, highlights various cases of risks of conflicts of interest which arise from public-private job moves. The cases illustrate how the EU rules and procedures governing this phenomenon are not working effectively because they are weak and are poorly implemented.
In the fifteen cases documented in this report, many officials were allowed to move into lobbying jobs without any restrictions being imposed. In some cases, the rules were ignored entirely until civil society raised the cases.
Blocking the revolving door does not mean preventing job moves, but it does mean setting up effective processes so that those moves which provoke conflicts of interest are assessed, regulated and, where necessary, blocked. To curb the potential conflicts of interest that may arise from the Revolving Door, ALTER EU is urging the introduction of improved rules with:
- • A mandatory cooling-off period (or ban) 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 official
- • Tackling the loopholes in the current rules including the exclusion of staff on (temporary) contracts
- • Scrutiny of all staff joining EU institutions for potential conflicts of interest. Where there is a potential conflict of interest between their old job and their new EU role, those persons must recuse themselves from such matters
- • Ensure sufficient resourcing to be able to investigate and monitor revolving door cases
- • Publish a full and updated list of all revolving door cases on EU institutions’ websites
Short versions in German, French and Spanish are available here.