EU gravy train probe reveals 30 per cent of ex-MEPs RE-HIRED as lobbyists

Siobhan McFadyen, Daily Express

MORE than thirty per cent of the EU’s ex-MEPs have been re-hired as lobbyists, a report has revealed. And more than 50 per cent of commissioners who traded up their political status to earn inflated salaries are also receiving funds by attempting to seek to influence current legislation.
Think tank Transparency International studied the European Union's lobbying register to probe what is going on amid "discontent" among citizens.

And their investigation, the first overview of its kind, shows growing concerns over money-making in Brussels.

Our analysis shows that 30 per cent of MEPs who have left politics for other employment in the last few years now work for organisations registered on the EU lobby register

Now pro-ethics politicians are calling for a new authority to overhaul rules and mirror a French "high authority" system which means politicians are set to be held to account of Code of Conduct breaches.

Last week former European Parliament president Martin Schulz announced he was to stand for the Germany chancellery after a five year stint where he earned more than £1m.

And with the revelation that Donald Tusk earns £22,000-a-month as an EU commissioner plus pension and benefits is causing major concerns among those representing the working class.

Transparency International's newest study on the careers of 485 former Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and 27 former EU Commissioners shows startling results.

The report says: "The 2014 European elections brought considerable change to Brussels.

"27 European Commissioners who were in office during the previous mandate, 2009-2014, left to make room for the new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s team.

"In the European Parliament, 485 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) were replaced during that same period.

"Our analysis shows that 30 per cent of MEPs who have left politics for other employment in the last few years now work for organisations registered on the EU lobby register.

"For former European Commissioners the share is more than 50 per cent."

Now MEP Sven Giegold, spokesperson of the German Greens in the European Parliament and rapporteur for Transparency, Accountability and integrity in the EU Institutions has blasted the news.

He said: "The gates are thrown open for new discontent from citizens when politicians go through the revolving door after their mandate is over to work as lobbyists.

"Hard but fair rules have to be put in place to ensure that politics works towards - and answers to - only the common good.

"The present rules against conflicts of interest are nothing but bad cosmetics.

"The cooling off period for EU Commissioners not only needs extension but also independent oversight.

"Procedures in the EU Commission for assessing conflicts of interest lack independence.

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"So far, the ethics committee, which is hand picked by the Commission, has acquitted all former Commissioners including those who definitely breached the Code of Conduct like Neelie Kroes.

"The EU Commission has to revise its Code of Conduct completely and put in place an credible, impartial, ethics body.

"It makes no sense have a conflict of interest when it comes to preventing conflicts of interest.

"The Commission should therefore follow the model of the "High Authority" for ethics in France, as this new body has already sanctioned a number of high ranking politicians."
uploaded: Wed, Feb 1 2017
modified: Tue, Dec 30 1969