Financial interests of MEP Jean Luc Dehaene

Publication date: 
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE), SpinWatch, LobbyControl, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)

In a joint letter earlier this year, FoEE together with CEO, LobbyControl, and Spinwatch, raised specific concerns about the lack of transparency over the financial interests of MEP Jean-Luc Dehaene, and the related risk of a potential conflict of interest. On 4 October, 5 months after, Mr Dehaene updated his declaration.

Open letter to Mr Schulz, President of the European Parliament

Executive summary / policy recommendations: 

Since 30th April 2012, Mr Dehaene has been allowed to exert stock options granted by the company AB Inbev worth around five million Euros. Mr Dehaene is bound by the obligations of the European Parliament code of conduct for MEPs: this includes a duty to be fully transparent about outside interests and to avoid any situation in which a potential conflict of interest could arise. Our earlier letter raised concerns that these duties were not being complied with. In particular, holding these stock options and being allowed to exert them, while sitting as a MEP, risks a potential conflict of interest. We have called on you to ensure that the Parliament authorities guarantee that Mr Dehaene fully complies with his obligations, and safeguards are put in place to avoid a potential conflict of interest in this particular case. 

At the time of writing, almost five months after our first letter, we have not received any official response from you. Mr Dehaene updated his declaration of financial interests on 4th October to include ’77,000 stock options AB Inbev’ in category (H) – financial interests which might influence the performance of MEP duties.

However questions remain about steps taken by Mr Dehaene himself to comply with the obligations of the code, and also by the Parliament authorities to prevent any potential risk of a conflict of interest in this case. What happens if Mr Dehaene needs to vote on EU legislation that is highly relevant for beer producers? Can he still fulfil his MEP mandate without any conflict of interest?