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Failure to deal properly with issues related to lobbying

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Showing 1 - 20 of 114 results

Decision in case 1416/2019/VB on the inclusion by the European Commission of a project to construct a gas terminal in Croatia on the list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) - cross-border energy infrastructure projects - and its subsequent decision to grant the project EU funding

Wednesday | 16 December 2020

The case concerned a project to construct a floating liquefied natural gas terminal on a Croatian island. The complainants were concerned that the European Commission had included the project on the list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) - cross-border energy infrastructure projects - and granted it EU funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The complainants considered that the project did not meet the relevant criteria to be included on the PCI list and to receive EU funding.

The Ombudsman looked into the matter and did not find anything to suggest that the Commission committed a manifest error of assessment when including the project on the PCI list and granting it EU funding. As the Commission has now provided clear explanations addressing the arguments raised by the complainants, the Ombudsman finds that no further inquiries into this complaint are justified.  

Decision in case 2168/2019/KR on the European Banking Authority’s decision to approve the request from its Executive Director to become CEO of a financial lobby group

Wednesday | 18 November 2020

The case concerned the decision of the European Banking Authority (EBA) to allow its Executive Director to take up a position as CEO of a lobby group.

The Ombudsman found two instances of maladministration and made three recommendations to avoid similar issues arising in future.

First, the EBA should, where necessary, invoke the option of forbidding its senior staff from taking up certain positions after their term-of-office. Any such prohibition should be time-limited, for example, for two years.

Second, the EBA should set out criteria for when it will forbid such moves in future so as to give clarity to senior staff. Applicants for senior EBA posts should be informed of the criteria when they apply.

Third, the EBA should put in place internal procedures so that once it is known that a member of its staff is moving to another job, their access to confidential information is cut off with immediate effect.

The Ombudsman closed the inquiry after the EBA accepted her recommendations and adopted measures to implement them.

The Ombudsman is confident that the policies the EBA has introduced will help it avoid damaging revolving door moves in the future. Other EU institutions and agencies should draw on these new EBA safeguards when revising their own rules.

 

Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in case 2168/2019/KR on how the European Banking Authority handled the move of its former Executive Director to become CEO of a financial industry lobby

Thursday | 07 May 2020

The Ombudsman received a complaint about the decision of the European Banking Authority (EBA) to allow its Executive Director to take up a position as CEO of an association representing banks, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).

The Ombudsman conducted an inquiry, inspected the relevant EBA documents and found maladministration, first, in that the EBA should have forbidden the job move. While the EBA adopted extensive restrictions, these are not sufficient when measured against the risks involved. The Ombudsman considers that if this move does not justify the application of the option, set out in the Staff Regulations, to forbid a staff member accepting a job offer, no move would.

Second, there was maladministration in that the EBA did not, once notified of the planned move, immediately withdraw its Executive Director’s access to confidential information.

The Ombudsman issues three recommendations to the EBA, which should (i) where necessary in future, invoke the option of forbidding its senior staff from taking up certain positions after their term-of-office. Any such prohibition should be time-limited, for example, for two years; (ii) set out criteria for when it will forbid such moves in future so as to give clarity to senior staff. Applicants for senior EBA posts should be informed of the criteria when they apply; and (iii) put in place internal procedures so that once it is known that a member of its staff is moving to another job, their access to confidential information is cut off with immediate effect.

The EBA should reply to these recommendations within three months.

           
           

 

Decision in case 560/2019/KR on alleged conflicts of interest of experts who participate in the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism

Monday | 30 March 2020

The case concerned whether the European Commission has in place processes to ensure that scientific experts who advise it have no conflicts of interest.

The complainant, a civil society organisation, had raised concerns about the independence of scientific experts that contributed to an advisory report on plant protection products (commonly known as pesticides).

The Ombudsman found that the Commission has systems in place to assess the independence of experts. However, with a view to improving these systems, she asked the Commission to ensure that all relevant financial interests are included in experts’ declarations of interests, and that these declarations are assessed and published. She closed the case with these two suggestions for improvement.