16 October 2020

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Open letter to the European Commission | Take action to stop revolving doors

by The Good Lobby

Last year, in a move that was widely criticized, the former Director of the European Banking Authority (EBA), Adam Farkas, became the new Chief Executive of one of the most powerful finance lobby groups in Europe, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).

 

In May this year, the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, condemned the move of the leading banking supervisor to become a top financial lobbyist. Following an extensive investigation into the matter, she concluded that “the EBA should have forbidden the job move“

 

This is the perfect example of the “revolving doors” practice. The concept of “revolving door” refers to the transition of high-level workers from jobs in the public sector to jobs in the private sector and vice versa. The theory is that when many politicians and regulators become lobbyists and consultants for the companies they once controlled, there is a revolving door between the two fields, and certain heads of private industry or lobbyists obtain government appointments that refer to their former private roles.

 

This practice has repeatedly damaged the reputation and independence of the EU institutions. This is why The Good Lobby has joined 28 civil society organisations in sending an open letter to President von der Leyen, Executive Vice-President Timmermans, Vice-President Jourová, and Commissioner-designate McGuinness to urge them to address the matter of “revolving doors”.

 

In the letter, we have asked for the following:

 

  1. The enforcement of rules and regulations on the post public employment in the EU Commission and its bodies
  2. The tightening of the rules already in place, including extending the rules for a lobby ban period and turning the possibility to forbid a job into an obligation
  3. The implementation of strong rules on conflict of interest and revolving doors across all EU institutions 
  4. Harmonization of the rules 
  5. Public consultation on the development of an independent body to oversee the rules
  6. Creation of a culture of integrity by fostering staffs’ knowledge and skills

 

To learn more about this initiative, access the letter in full here.