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How the European Commission manages ‘revolving doors’ moves of its staff members

As a follow-up to her previous inquiry on how the European Commission manages ‘revolving doors’, the Ombudsman has launched an own-initiative inquiry into how the Commission handles revolving doors situations of staff members who apply to take up an outside activity while on unpaid leave on personal grounds, and (senior) staff members who apply for approval to take up an activity after leaving the Commission. The inquiry aims to look more closely at the practice in a selection of Commission directorates-general (DGs).

As a first step, the Ombudsman asked the Commission to provide her with a list of the number of cases it dealt with in 2019 and 2020, sorted by DG. Based on this reply, the Ombudsman then asked to inspect documents linked to 100 decisions taken by the Commission in relation to requests to take up a new activity by (former) staff members from a designated set of DGs and services. Following the inspection, the Ombudsman sent the Commission a set of detailed questions on how it manages the risk of conflicts of interest in approving such requests, and requested a meeting to discuss these questions.