Sample letter to EU commissioners about revolving door rules

Publication date: 
Monday, March 10, 2014
ALTER-EU steering committee
Executive summary / policy recommendations: 

The code of conduct for commissioners stipulates the following:

  • An 18 month notification period: for 18 months after a commissioner leaves office, s/he must notify the Commission if s/he plans to take up new professional activities. These activities will then be scrutinised by the Commission for possible conflicts of interest

  • An 18 month lobbying ban: for 18 months after a commissioner leaves office, s/he may not undertake lobbying or advocacy with any commissioner or staff member at the Commission on issues relating to their former mandate

ALTER-EU considers that the rules within the code of conduct are a good first step but that they remain inadequate to fully prevent all possible risk of conflicts of interest when former commissioners leave office. As a result, we advocate that all departing commissioners follow the following guidelines until the code of conduct can be revised:

  • The notification period for former commissioners should be extended to three years to match the period of time for which ex-commissioners are entitled to receive a transitional allowance.

  • The ban on lobbying should also be extended to three years and should cover all issues for which the Barroso II Commission has taken collective decisions, as well as all issues dealt with by an individual commissioner. Any other role which could create a conflict of interest should also be included within this ban.

  • The ban on lobbying should include both direct and indirect lobbying such as the provision of lobbying advice.

  • Commissioners should provide all possible information about their new role when seeking authorisation.

  • Commissioners should not negotiate new roles whilst in office.

  • Commissioners should not make commitments about future professional activities before informing the Commission about this possible future employment and receiving a formal written authorisation from the Commission.

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