EU: Clean up Brussels’ Lobby Scene

Revolving Doors -- The Brussels Carrousel


50 per cent or more of our laws come from Brussels and it is vital that these decisions work in the interests of people and environment, and not just big business. Yet some of the most important people making decisions about how our lives are governed are too-cosy with big business. In recent years, a number of Commissioners, MEPs and top officials have walked through the ‘revolving door’ meaning that they have left their EU jobs and instead started working for big business. When this happens, big business gains inside-knowledge, vital contacts, and above all, powerful influence. This helps to make Brussels even more business-dominated and remote from citizens’ concerns and the public interest. With the European Parliamentary elections and a change in the Commission fast approaching, the EU revolving door is likely to start spinning again. Join us to block the revolving door and to prevent 2014 from becoming the ‘year of the revolving door’!

ALTER-EU demands the following:

  • A revised Code of Conduct for Commissioners to include a three year cooling-off period for Commissioners taking lobby jobs (or any other job which provokes the risk of a conflict of interest) and a revamped Commission ethics committee
  • Further changes to the EU’s Staff Regulations to better regulate the revolving door to include a two year cooling off period for officials

ALTER-EU has been campaigning for tougher rules to block the revolving door. See below for examples of the revolving door in practice.

Günter Verheugen was the former European commissioner for enterprise and industry who founded the European Experience Company, a consultancy firm together with his former head of cabinet Petra Erler. You can read more here.

Charlie McCreevy was the European commissioner for the internal market and later joined the boards of Ryanair, Sentenial and the bank BNY Mellon. You can read more here.

Jörgen Holmquist was Director-General of at DG internal market until June 2010. He then became a member of the European Commission’s task force for Greece, retiring from the Commission in June 2012. Four months later he started as an advisor at Brussels lobby consultancy Interel’s financial services practice. You can read more here.

Johan Gabrielsson worked at DG Enlargement for five years. He later became public affairs director at tobacco company Swedish Match since October. You can read more here.

To read about other revolving door cases, check out Corporate Europe Observatory’s RevolvingDoorWatch –

Publication date: Friday, January 13, 2012
The streets of Brussels are full of lobbyists… nobody knows exactly how many – maybe as many as 30,000 people are paid to influence decisions makers. The European Union is a magnet for those who want to influence power. Most of these lobbyists act for corporate interests, keen to block policies that might hurt their profits. They try to persuade politicians to act in their interest instead. Isn’t the European Union supposed to act in the interests of European citizens? Doesn’t the power of the lobbyists need to be checked?
The only way to clean it up is to make it law forbidding all politicians from taking interconnected jobs for at least two years after leaving a governmental appointed position or elected office. Are these same politicians going to pass such a law? heh  It’s good to at least try and push for something that will curb this flow of people from the bankster-gangster jobs into government positions then back to the same bankster-gangster jobs…same for politicians who go from being an elected representative into the firms that were lobbying them…Obama said he’d clean up that mess as well – he’s had more lobbyists and cronyism in his administration than in the history of presidents. No surprise…
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