Press Release: EU banking authority leaves loopholes on revolving doors
Brussels, 1 October 2020 – 29 civil society organisations ask the European Commission to close loopholes on revolving doors.
A case opened by the European Ombudsman about the Director of the European Banking Authority who left his post to become Executive Officer of a powerful finance lobby group (AFME) is now drawing to a close – while the problem is not completely solved.
Revolving doors between EU institutions and lobby groups have damaged the reputation of the EU way too often and for much too long. At the Commission’s directorate for financial affairs, for instance, 4 of 5 former directors now work for the financial sector. A recent case of revolving doors in the European Banking Authority (EBA) that Change Finance complained about, led to a rebuke by the EU Ombudswoman. Since then, some improvements have been implemented in the EBA. Yet, as described in an open letter sent to the Commission today, a significant loophole remains, and it shows the EBA mimicking the Commission.
“Officials moving to organizations that lobby the very same institution they had worked for is a sad tradition in the EU. The Parliament has strongly criticised it, the Ombudswoman has reproached it, civil society has spoken out against it numerous times. What else has to happen? It’s high time for the Commission to make sure that the independence of EU decision making is no longer compromised and revolving doors are finally stopped across all EU institutions.” Jana Leutner from the Change Finance coalition said.
She adds that “regulations still allow that an institution’s integrity is overridden by what is called ‘the fundamental right to work’ of the outgoing person – as if forbidding one particular job would violate a person’s general right to work. This has to change. The Commission must state clearly that prohibiting an EU civil servant from taking on a specific job in a lobby organization does not infringe the right to work”.
For the Change Finance coalition the recurring issue of senior officials leaving their jobs to join the finance lobby shows that some EU institutions are too close to vested interests. Another recent issue raised by the coalition is the Commission’s decision to allow the giant US investment fund BlackRock to develop proposals on banking regulation and climate change.
For further information or interview requests, please contact:
Jana Leutner, Change Finance member
firstname.lastname@example.org, +49 / 17660865392
Kenneth Haar, Researcher, Corporate Europe Observatory (Change Finance member)
email@example.com, +45 / 23600631
NOTES TO EDITORS
Change Finance is a civil society network that advocates reforms of the financial sector to make it better serve societies, people and the planet. As a result of a Change Finance campaign during the EU elections 2019, 78 Members of the European Parliament have signed a pledge to distance themselves from the financial lobby. In October 2019, 58 civil society groups called for Adam Farkas’s move to AFME to be stopped. In January this year, Change Finance urged MEPs to reject the nomination of Gerry Cross to the position of executive director of the European Banking Authority. The European Parliament took action and, for the very first time, blocked a candidate for a financial regulatory post.