A large number of senior EU staff have moved through the "revolving door" to jobs as industry lobbyists, or vice versa, creating potential conflicts of interest.* Over the years that CEO and other watchdog groups have been documenting these cases, the Commission has seemed reluctant to take the breaches of its own rules seriously. Frequently failing to impose restrictions or cooling-off periods where there is clear risk of conflicts of interest, neglecting to impose sanctions when rules are breached, and systematically failing to properly scrutinise the moves.
- the former EU ambassador to the United States, John Bruton, who went on to became a senior advisor to Brussels-based lobby consultancy Cabinet DN. Bruton did not inform the Commission of his move and later said he did not know he was supposed to;
former senior Energy Advisor in the Commission, Derek Taylor, who
retired after 25 years, and immediately set up his own energy
consultancy and took several other energy lobby jobs, but only applied
for permission two years later. Despite this breach of rules, the
Commission requested no further details nor imposed any sanctions or
- the Head of Cabinet to Enterprise and Industry Commissioner Verheugen, Petra Erler, set up an EU lobby consultancy with Verheugen immediately after leaving her post, but only applied for permission four months later, noting that she had not been made aware of this requirement. Authorisation was granted, with narrow restrictions, despite the documented disagreement of all staff representatives on an internal advisory committee.