Saturday 06 June 2020

EU watchdog says Neelie Kroes should not work for Merrill Lynch

European Union flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in BrusselsThe Netherlands’ former EU commissioner Neelie Kroes is one of four commissioners whose current job could run foul of conflict of interest rules, according to Brussels watchdogs Corporate Europe Observatory and Lobby Control.

Nine former commissioners now have jobs with commercial sector companies, ‘leading to fears of an unhealthily close relationship between the EU’s executive body and private interests,’ the organisations say.

Eight of those jobs, done by four different commissioners, could be considered to involve a conflict of interest and ‘should have been rejected outright’, the watchdogs say.

This includes the former Dutch competition and digital agenda commissioner Kroes, who is now an advisor to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Influence

The current commission should not have approved these appointments, the groups say. They are also concerned that former commission chairman José Manuel Barroso is now working as a lobbyist and has some 20 different jobs.

Socialist MP Dennis de Jong pointed out that current commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker had said the highest possible ethical standards would be applied when assessing new jobs.

‘It is hardly surprising that European citizens have no faith in European institutions,’ he is quoted as saying by the Telegraaf. ‘The influence of the big corporate lobbies goes right to the top. The last word has not been said about this.’

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