Progress is becoming apparent in the case of Barroso and Goldman Sachs. In the meantime, the struggle for more transparency in the European Parliament is going into the next round.
Last week, the European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly criticised the conflict of interest concerning the new position of José Manuel Barroso at Goldman Sachs International in an open letter to Commission President Juncker. This letter and the protest of the civil society have had an effect. Commission President Juncker reacts to the accusations and asked the Ad Hoc Ethics Committee to examine whether the integrity of the office has been infringed against. In contrast to the already elapsed 18-month period to veto a job appointment, there is no time limit for protecting office integrity. However, it remains open, which consequences may be drawn from this. In addition, Juncker announced that Barroso, once he has taken up his job as a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs, may only visit the EU Commission under the regulations applying to lobbyists and no longer in his capacity as a former President of the EU Commission.
Progress towards greater transparency in danger!
In the meantime, a struggle for more transparency is taking place in the European Parliament. On Monday evening, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) should have voted on the report on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions by rapporteur Sven Giegold (The Greens). The report would have been a step towards more transparency in the European Parliament. In particular the demands for introducing a legislative footprint, establishing a lobby register as binding as possible, a ban on lobby side jobs, effective sanctions in case of infringements against the code of conduct and a cooling off period for MEPs and staff are some of the key demands of the report.
However, on Monday, this Transparency Report was postponed on request of the European People's Party until further notice. This delay gives cause for concern that attempts might be made to water down the report and its demands. The AK would definitely welcome it if the European Parliament would take decisive steps towards greater transparency. This would set a clear signal for a balanced representation of interests and for strengthening the citizens' trust in the EU.