What the squid did next: Goldman Sachs at the heart of European democracy

Publication date: 
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Kenneth Haar (Corporate Europe Observatory - steering committee member of ALTER-EU)

The power of Goldman Sachs did not come out of the blue. The Wall Street bank started building its European empire in 1986 – during Margaret Thatcher’s sweeping deregulation of the British financial sector – when it came to London and ingratiated itself with both major political parties.


Article in New Internationalist

Executive summary / policy recommendations: 

The need for a clear separation of public policies and private financial interests might seem self-evident. But governments and EU Commissioners still consider bankers and speculators as the wise, visionary and unavoidable sources for inspiration when designing the future economy.

This provides the company with access to information, networks and influence that the person in question built up while working, supposedly, in the ‘public interest’.The EU has been unable (or unwilling) to deal with revolving doors.

In 2010 the European coalition for lobby transparency, ALTER-EU, counted six out of a total of thirteen commissioners who had just left and joined private companies. Of the six, five had joined the private financial sector.(1)

To combat this, ALTER-EU is campaigning for a ‘cooling-off period’ of three years when it should be impossible for an ex-Commissioner or ex-MEP to join a private company that can exploit experience and contacts obtained in public office.

Read the full article here: http://www.newint.org/features/2012/03/01/goldman-sachs-europe/

1. The six are: Benita Ferrero-Waldner (Munich Re and Gamesa); Meglena Kuneva (BNP Paribas); Günter Verheugen (RBS; lobby consultancy Fleishman Hillard; European Experience Company; the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges and a German banking lobby group); Charlie McCreevy (NBNK and Ryanair); Joe Borg (lobby consultancy FIPRA) and Louis Michel (Credimo).