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Štvrtok, 16. januára 2020 - Štrasburg Revidované vydanie

3. Inštitúcie a orgány v hospodárskej a menovej únii: predchádzanie konfliktu záujmov po skončení verejnej služby (rozprava)
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  Przewodnicząca. – Kolejnym punktem porządku dziennego jest debata nad pytaniem wymagającym odpowiedzi ustnej skierowanym do Komisji przez Irene Tinagli w imieniu Komisji Gospodarczej i Monetarnej w sprawie Instytucji i organów unii gospodarczej i walutowej: zapobieganie konfliktom interesów związanym z zatrudnianiem byłych urzędników instytucji publicznych (O-000048/2019 - B9-0001/2020) (2019/2959(RSP)).


  Irene Tinagli, author. – Madam President, on 17 September 2019, Mr Adam Farkas announced his resignation from his position as Executive Director of the European Banking Authority (EBA), which will be effective on 31 January 2020 to become, starting on 1 February 2020, the CEO of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), a well-known lobbying company that, according to its website, is the voice of Europe’s wholesale financial services.

Let me remind you what the EBA’s responsibilities are: the EBA is responsible for supervising the EU’s banking sector and for setting technical standards implementing key financial regulations. This makes the EBA a fundamental institution that regulates and supervises the financial sector. It also, of course, makes it a constant lobbying target for the industry. AFME, like other stakeholders, appears to have permanent interactions with the EBA.

In compliance with the staff regulations and ethical rules, the EBA’s Board of Supervisors has taken a decision to impose fairly light restrictions on its Executive Director, both while in service at the EBA and after leaving the EBA. However, the restrictions on Mr Farkas’s future employment do not seem either realistic or enforceable. Unless Mr Farkas simply becomes AFME’s poster boy, I cannot really find a single topic that AFME covers that does not fall within the remit of the EBA and does not relate to the work of Mr Farkas.

Moreover, it is not clear to me who will monitor the effective application of these restrictions, in particular the one that provides that he cannot engage in lobbying or advocacy of the EBA or have professional contacts with EBA staff for 24 months after leaving the Authority. How are we going to enforce that or control that? Who’s going to do that? So, for this reason, we call for a review of this decision by the EBA Board of Supervisors. Sadly, Mr Farkas’ is not the first case, and will probably not be the last, of a post—public employment job in the private sector that poses evident problems of conflicts of interest, but we absolutely must act to ensure that this is the last. I really hope that this is the last.

Revolving doors, where one jumps from public institutions to top positions in the private sector, from regulators to regulated, or from supervisors to supervised, and vice versa unfortunately not only undermine the credibility of the individual engaging in such behaviour, but undermine the credibility of the whole institution and, more generally, the trust that citizens have in public bodies, and the trust that citizens have in public institutions is the backbone of democracies. So we shall not tolerate our European institutions and agencies’ credibility crumbling just because of some individuals’ interest, and we should always remain vigilant in making sure and guaranteeing that they are not influenced by private interest.

For this reason, we call on the Commission to assess the current practice on post—public employment at European and national level, to extend this review to pre-public employment conflicts of interest, and also to put in place a harmonised legal framework, which should include an extension of the possibility to block professional moves and the provision of a cooling—off period that is proportionate to the specific case and accompanied by an appropriate temporary allowance. Finally, we call on the Commission also to assess whether it is appropriate that the EU agencies concerned decide for themselves on the enforcement of the rules for the prevention of conflicts of interest and how a consistent application of the rules can be ensured.

I was glad to see that the resolution was supported unanimously by Members in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) with no votes against and no abstentions. I hope this is a clear signal and that the plenary widely supports the resolution as well.


  Janez Lenarčič, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, from the outset, let me underline that I fully share with you the consideration of the importance of high ethical standards in the European civil service in general. These high ethical standards are vital – vital components that allow democracy to thrive. The effective operation of ethics in the civil service requires that public officials and agents be independent, impartial and responsible to the people. I understand that the move of Mr Farkas from the European Banking Authority (EBA) to the private sector generated some concerns and in this context, you addressed questions to the Commission with regards to its policy and its legal framework. You have also raised the point in relation to the horizontal harmonisation of the ethical legal framework across the EU institutions.

The Staff Regulations and the implementing rules adopted by the Commission apply to all EU agencies, unless agencies adopt their own implementing rules which are validated by the Commission. At the same time, each agency holds its independence, since they are separate legal entities. This means that agencies are independently responsible for the implementation of the rules, compliance and for adopting individual decisions concerning their staff and this also concerns Mr Farkas.

The decision concerning Mr Farkas was taken by the EBA Board of Supervisors, which is the decision-making body to decide on and enforce post-employment restrictions. The members of the board with voting rights are the heads of the national public authorities, competent for the supervision of credit institutions in each Member State. The Commission participates in the board meetings with only one representative, without voting rights. This mode of governance is the choice of the legislator.

As mentioned, the EBA, like all EU institutions, is bound by the Staff Regulations. These contain a comprehensive ethical framework. The latest Staff Regulations – reform of 2013 – reinforced this framework in the area of post-employment restrictions. More specifically, the Staff Regulations require that potential conflicts of interest are assessed upon recruitment or integration after a period of leave on personal grounds. These provisions explicitly address the issue of lobbying in a democracy during leave on personal grounds or after having left the institution. With particular regard to post-employment activities, the assessment is made on a case-by-case basis. Prohibitions or restrictions must be well reasoned and proportionate. For each case there must be appropriate balance between the need to ensure the integrity of the work of the institution, through temporary prohibitions and restrictions and, on the other hand, the need to respect the former staff members’ right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

On these matters, the Commission has in place implementing rules which are regularly revised to reflect recommendations, in particular from the European Parliament, the European Ombudsman and the European Court of Auditors. This was the case when the new decision on outside activities and assignments and occupational activities after leaving the service was adopted in 2018.

I would also like to underline the importance of transparency. Since 2014, the Staff Regulations provide that each institution must publish annually information on the implementation of the prohibition for former senior managers for one year to engage in lobbying or advocacy vis-à-vis staff of the former institution on matters for which they were responsible during the last three years in service. The Commission has just published its fifth report. This is part of the Commission’s overall efforts to achieve greater transparency, which also includes publication of Commissioners’ and senior staff meetings and updates to the EU transparency register, to name just a few.

Over the recent years, the Commission has indeed closely cooperated with the European Ombudsman in the framework of her inquiries looking into the revolving doors phenomenon. When closing its second inquiry in February last year, the European Ombudsman confirmed that the Commission has high standards in the area of ethics and transparency and encouraged the Commission to continue to lead by example. In July last year, the European Court of Auditors issued a report on the ethical framework of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. The Court of Auditors’ audit confirmed that, to a large extent, the audited institutions have established adequate ethical frameworks and that the Commission is well advanced in this matter. The new College marks a new momentum to address ethical challenges, together with new ideas and determination. In this respect, Vice-President Jourová has been entrusted by the President to work with the European Parliament and the Council on setting up an independent ethics body common to all EU institutions. Cooperation with the other institutions in this process, of course, is key to making this a success.


  Markus Ferber, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Kommissar, liebe Kolleginnen, liebe Kollegen! Latente Interessenkonflikte, wie sie durch einen direkten Wechsel von Spitzenpersonal aus den Aufsichtsbehörden in die Privatwirtschaft entstehen können, erodieren das Vertrauen in die Europäische Union und in ihre Institutionen. Zur Wahrheit gehört aber auch – und das wurde ja schon angesprochen –, dass wir natürlich auch keine Berufsverbote verhängen können. Wenn wir also Spitzenbeamte zu einer Cooling-off-Periode verpflichten wollen, muss natürlich auch eine entsprechende Kompensation gewährt werden. Andernfalls begeben wir uns wirklich in rechtlich schwieriges Terrain. Insofern ist es notwendig, dass die Europäische Kommission nicht nur sagt: „Das ist eine Agentur, die hat eigene Regeln“, sondern dass wir gemeinsam über einen einheitlichen Rechtsrahmen nachdenken. Ich bedauere sehr, dass der Rat an dieser Debatte nicht teilnimmt, denn für den einheitlichen Rechtsrahmen ist auch die Unterstützung des Rates notwendig. Es wäre schön, wenn der Ratsvorsitz sich auch dieses Themas mit uns gemeinsam annehmen würde.

Es gehört damit auch dazu, dass den Aufsichtsbehörden selbst weniger Spielraum gegeben wird. Es kann ja nicht sein, dass sie selbst darüber entscheiden, was zulässig ist und was nicht zulässig ist, weil sie nach anderen Kriterien messen, als es eigentlich für europäische Spitzenbeamte der Fall sein sollte.

Aber, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen, wir müssen natürlich auch ein bisschen aufpassen. Ich sage immer: Wer ausreiten will, muss den eigenen Stall auch sauber halten. Und deswegen gehört auch mit dazu – und wir als EVP haben das in die Entschließung mit hineingebracht –, dass wir das nicht nur für Institutionen sehen, sondern auch für das Parlament: Wenn ein Mitarbeiter der Grünen, der in einem Monat noch an der Regulierung von Investmentfonds und Wertpapierfirmen mitgearbeitet hat, im nächsten Monat plötzlich zum Dachverband der britischen Asset-Management-Industrie wechselt, und zwar natürlich ohne Cooling-off-Periode, dann ist das auch ein fragwürdiger Vorgang. Deswegen sage ich in aller Deutlichkeit: Ich bin froh, dass wir uns in unserer Entschließung klar dafür ausgesprochen haben, dass die Bestimmungen im Beamtenstatut hinsichtlich Interessenkonflikten auch für Mitarbeiter gelten sollen.


  Paul Tang, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, today it feels especially good to be a Member of this Parliament. While the Guardian of the Treaties has looked the other way thus far, Commissioner, this institution has taken up the challenge to defend the rules that we hold dear.

The EU has strong safeguards against revolving doors and the perverse incentives that come from that. These new rules enable us to prevent employees from taking up positions that harm our collective interest. However, without their application and enforcement, rules turn into paper tigers. It is this vital that this Parliament reminds the Commission, reminds the European Banking Authority (EBA), reminds the public that we will not let vital rules descend into irrelevance. With this resolution, we send the reminder loud and clear: we demand that Mr Farkas’ move be blocked. If this demand is not met, we will stand ready to ban him from this Parliament.

But it doesn’t end here. We see a sort of intimate love story developing between the EBA on the one hand, and Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) on the other hand now that Gerry Cross has also been appointed. We need to continue to address potential conflicts of interest in the EU, and this starts in two weeks’ time if Mr Farkas indeed takes up his new job. I trust that the parliamentary leadership will implement our call not to grant Mr Farkas an access badge. Commissioner, we will be monitoring you and other agendas from your colleagues to verify whether you heed our advice not to meet Mr Farkas in the coming two years.

Well, I’m proud of the strong stance that we have taken together. We should highlight one thing: no one comes out of this story looking good. So, much better than standing up in defence of our common rules is not to let their strength be doubted at all.


  Luis Garicano, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, during the financial crisis, we learned that the excessive closeness between the regulators and the regulated – the banks, the financial sector – can have a real cost to taxpayers. We’re not talking about vague ethical standards without implications, we’re talking about rules that actually matter to the taxpayers. Why? Because if those who are setting the rules are actually not setting the rules for the taxpayers, but they are setting the rules for the system, because they’re hoping to go back to the financial system, etc., what we end up is with rules that are actually not working, with rules that lead to bailouts and with rules that lead to taxpayers footing the bill. The favourite bet of investors is one where heads they win, tails the taxpayers lose. That’s why this case is so important, and that’s why Parliament is sending a very loud and clear message.

I congratulate my colleagues from all the four main parties – Mr Tang, Ms Tingali, Chair of the Committee, Mr Ferber, Mr Giegold – on coming together and passing already a resolution on this case unanimously, the entire Parliament. We are continuing working on building and maintaining these boundaries between regulators and those who are regulated. This case goes beyond any conception of those boundaries. It basically makes a laughing stock of those Staff Regulations you mentioned, Mr Commissioner, and it basically means, well you know, if you want to ignore those rules and go around them, then you may. That’s why Parliament has taken such a decisive action. We don’t take this this problem lightly. We will be policing and monitoring in the future that the Staff Regulations are maintained and enforced. That ethical body you proposed, Mr Commissioner, seems like a good idea. Anything that can make this work, this prohibition and these boundaries between the two sides of the wall work, and we think that that’s to the benefit of our economies, our citizens our taxpayers.


  Sven Giegold, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin! Der Fall Ádám Farkas hat zu Recht großes Aufsehen erregt, denn hier geht es um einen wichtigen Interessenkonflikt. Wenn die Nummer zwei der Europäischen Bankenaufsichtsbehörde direkt aus dieser Position an die Spitze der Großbankenlobby wechselt, schwächt das das Vertrauen der Bürgerinnen und Bürger in die europäische Demokratie. Und je weiter europäische Institutionen von der lokalen Demokratie weg sind, umso höher müssen die ethischen Standards sein.

Deshalb ist es auch richtig, dass zum Beispiel in Bereichen wie Transparenz von Lobbyismus und von Dokumenten die EU immer höhere Standards hatte. Aber im Bereich der Drehtür zwischen Privatwirtschaft und mächtigen Lobbys und öffentlichen Positionen sind die Regeln leider nicht so stark. Deshalb brauchen wir hier strengere Regeln. Die bisherigen Regeln sind ein schlechter Witz. Das gilt auch für die Regeln, die jetzt Herrn Farkas auferlegt wurden.

Es ist wichtig, dass die EU-Kommission das Beamtenstatut streng anwendet, und wir wissen, dass ein Grund dafür, dass der Fall Farkas von der Kommission bisher nicht so gründlich geprüft und abschlägig beschieden wurde, auch darin lag, dass man bei den eigenen Mitarbeitern häufig auch nicht so streng hinguckt.

Ja, es ist richtig, dass auch im Europäischen Parlament diese Probleme bestehen. Das fängt an bei Parlamentarischen Assistenten, hört aber auch bei den Abgeordneten nicht auf, die ja nach Ende des Mandats weiter Gehaltsbezüge bekommen, ohne dass daran irgendwelche Auflagen, was Interessenkonflikte angeht, geknüpft sind. Und deshalb nehme ich die Initiative gerne auf. Lassen Sie uns hier im Haus uns selbst Regeln geben. Denn als wir unseren Bericht über die Integrität, Transparenz und Rechenschaftspflicht des Europäischen Parlaments gemacht haben, da war die Unterstützung für meine Vorschläge zur Begrenzung der revolving door sehr, sehr gering. Deshalb freue ich mich, wenn wir das jetzt hier anders regeln.

Aber insbesondere muss die Europäische Bankenaufsichtsbehörde unseren Aufruf ernst nehmen, diesen Beschluss neu zu überdenken. Wenn sie das nicht tut, dann muss das Konsequenzen haben. Und wir haben eine Gelegenheit, denn die neue Nummer zwei kommt ja auch von der Großbankenlobby, und da werden wir sehen, wie ernst wir diesen Beschluss hier eigentlich meinen. Das ist zentral, und auch der Fall Sabathil, der derzeit ja weit berichtet wird, gibt Anlass zur Sorge, was den Drehtür-Effekt angeht. Alle Institutionen müssen also hier aufräumen und die Konsequenzen dieser Entschließung zeigen.


  Joachim Kuhs, im Namen der ID-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Es ist schon viel gesagt worden, nur noch nicht von jedem, und ich möchte deshalb auch gar nicht erst so viel anmerken, denn die Fakten liegen auf dem Tisch. Die Analyse ist, denke ich, eindeutig, und es muss sich hier etwas ändern.

Aber es kann aus meiner Sicht nicht sein, dass die betroffene Behörde selbst die Regeln definiert, mit der dann solche Fälle gelöst werden sollen. Diese Regeln müssen die entsprechenden Organe hier, nämlich der Rat, das Parlament und die Kommission, treffen. Da müssen wir an einem Strang ziehen, damit diese Probleme nicht mehr auftauchen.

Letztendlich, seien wir doch ehrlich, ist es doch so: Selbst wenn wir uns hier ganz viele Regeln geben – das kostet auf der einen Seite viel Geld, wie Kollege Ferber ausgeführt hat, das kostet uns auch viel, viel Kraft und Zeit – ist das Problem doch, wenn bei den betroffenen Personen kein Gespür vorhanden ist, dass das ganze Ding ein „Geschmäckle“ hat, wie wir in Baden-Württemberg, wo ich herkomme, sagen. Dann werden wir hier keine Lösungen finden.

Solche Geschichten, solche Wechsel von Beamtenschaft in die Privatwirtschaft, müssen von den Personen selbst gelöst werden. Wir können da nicht zuschauen, wenn solche Dinge sich hier breitmachen, egal wo Sie sind, im Parlament oder bei diesen Organen. Deshalb bitte ich um mehr Gespür, auch um mehr persönliche Betroffenheit, dass solche Dinge nicht mehr vorkommen.


  José Gusmão, em nome do Grupo GUE/NGL. – Senhora Presidente, nós apoiamos a resolução que o Parlamento irá votar e que a comissão ECON trouxe a este debate. Infelizmente, parece que o que a Comissão Europeia nos trouxe foi uma desilusão. O que aliás é habitual, e tem sido habitual em sucessivas Comissões Europeias.

Na sequência da crise financeira de 2008 o então Presidente da Comissão Europeia disse que era preciso reequilibrar a influência da indústria financeira nas políticas europeias com a influência dos cidadãos. O Presidente da Comissão Europeia que fez esta bela declaração chamava-se Durão Barroso e, como todos sabemos, acabou na Goldman Sachs.

E este problema, que é um problema endémico em múltiplas instituições europeias, torna—se infinitamente mais grave cada vez que discutimos o sistema financeiro e os seus reguladores em comissões europeias, em diversos reguladores, no Parlamento Europeu.

As decisões que foram tomadas pela Autoridade Bancária Europeia no caso Farkas são, como já foi dito, uma piada de mau gosto. As restrições que são impostas de não contactar com pessoas que trabalhem na Autoridade, mesmo que esta restrição pudesse ser fiscalizada e não pode, obviamente não o impede de passar a sua lista telefónica aos seus novos colegas. Tal como é ridícula e seria risível, se este não fosse um assunto tão sério, a restrição de não utilizar a informação que acumulou em oito anos na Autoridade Bancária Europeia nas suas novas funções, que são funções de lobby, em que a Autoridade Bancária Europeia é um regulador central. O Sr. Farkas vai ser pago para utilizar essa informação. O salário que ele irá receber é o preço dessa informação.

E o que a Comissão Europeia aqui nos veio dizer é que o princípio da independência do regulador significa basicamente que as instituições democráticas que os cidadãos europeus elegeram não podem fazer nada, o que significa que reguladores importantes como a Autoridade Bancária Europeia podem ser totalmente capturados pelos setores económicos que visam regular.

Aliás, convém sublinhar que esta decisão que estamos a discutir é tomada por um Presidente da Autoridade Bancária Europeia que vem, ele próprio, de uma posição de lobby no Santander, e portanto esta história, esta novela na Autoridade Bancária Europeia, já tem muitos episódios.

E embora este assunto seja um assunto sério, não posso deixar de sorrir quando é invocado o direito ao trabalho. O que nós estamos a discutir é o direito de passar diretamente de um regulador para uma posição de lobby. O direito ao trabalho? Se os trabalhadores europeus fossem tão protegidos pelas instituições europeias como está a ser protegido este homem, que passou de regulador a lobista, a Europa estaria bastante melhor.


  Jonás Fernández (S&D). – Señora presidenta, señor comisario, la pasada crisis financiera dejó entrever un claro espacio de grises, donde el sector financiero, las autoridades, los reguladores, los supervisores, compartían información, compartían espacios, compartían debates. Y los compartían de tal manera que, de alguna manera u otra, acababan influenciando las decisiones. Y esta percepción de la ciudadanía europea, esta percepción de que las autoridades públicas no son lo independientes que debieran ser de algún tipo de grupos de interés, es una percepción que mina la confianza en el sistema democrático, es una apreciación que mina la confianza en Europa, en el proyecto comunitario.

Yo creo que es muy importante que, en este caso que estamos discutiendo, la Comisión de Asuntos Económicos y Monetarios del Parlamento haya aprobado por unanimidad —unanimidad, no una mayoría amplia, unanimidad— una serie de requisitos, de recomendaciones para evitar este tipo de puertas giratorias. Porque creemos que no es razonable que los colegas de las instituciones supervisoras sean aquellos que deban evaluar si los empleados públicos de esas agencias pueden o no pueden ir a determinadas empresas.

Es necesaria una agencia independiente, con competencia para todas las instituciones europeas, la Comisión y las agencias supervisoras, que, de alguna manera, evalúe claramente los criterios, evalúe, en fin, las características de esos movimientos laborales, para permitir mejorar la confianza de los ciudadanos europeos en las instituciones, para mejorar la confianza en la democracia europea y abrir un espacio, como digo, de una mayor responsabilidad política en el conjunto de la Unión.


  Damien Carême (Verts/ALE). – Madame la Présidente, tout le monde le dit, mais il faut le faire: il faut en finir avec l’influence opaque et disproportionnée des lobbies sur nos politiques publiques: le lobby de la finance, mais aussi celui du nucléaire ou des énergies fossiles, etc. Ils sont nombreux et organisés pour faire avancer dans l’ombre leurs intérêts privés, avec les conséquences que l’on connaît: dérèglements bancaires, subventions à des énergies du passé, et j’en passe.

Il faut plus de transparence pour lutter contre ces forces de l’ombre, car on est loin d’en avoir fini avec la corruption; même en France aujourd’hui, comme en témoigne, à titre d’exemple, le dernier rapport du Conseil de l’Europe du 9 janvier 2020, qui pointe la persistance de zones grises dans la lutte contre la corruption et qui appelle à une plus grande transparence dans les contacts entre l’exécutif et les groupes d’intérêt afin que leur influence sur les décisions soit plus claire.

Pour retrouver toute la confiance des citoyens, ce que tout le monde appelle de ses vœux ici, il est temps de mettre fin à la collusion entre intérêts publics et privés. À titre d’exemple, car c’est celui qui nous intéresse aujourd’hui, un haut fonctionnaire, M. Farkas, en charge de la supervision européenne des banques, ne devrait pas pouvoir devenir du jour au lendemain directeur du principal lobby de la finance. C’est pourtant ce qui se passe en ce moment et ce n’est pas acceptable.

Il faut des règles plus strictes pour préserver l’intégrité de nos institutions. On a besoin, par exemple, de fixer des périodes plus longues de transition entre deux activités aux conflits d’intérêts potentiels avec interdiction de badges d’accès au Parlement. Il faut surtout une supervision véritablement indépendante lorsque de telles situations se présentent, grâce à la création de cette autorité indépendante pour l’éthique que vous évoquiez dans votre propos.

Quand on dit vouloir défendre l’intérêt général, il faut agir en conséquence, en commençant par accepter la transparence et la clarté.


  Angelo Ciocca (ID). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, non si pensi di guadagnare stamattina la verginità del Parlamento europeo e delle istituzioni europee lanciando l'allarme, a distanza di decenni, che esistono dentro le istituzioni europee i conflitti di interesse, l'influenza delle lobby, le porte girevoli e l'assenza di etica.

Lo denunciamo da anni e lo denunciano i cittadini: questi palazzi e queste istituzioni sono stati sordi per anni sul fatto che dentro a queste istituzioni, alle istituzioni europee, all'unione monetaria ci fosse forte influenza delle lobby.

Però è importante anche andare a vedere cosa è accaduto, dove l'unione monetaria ha creato danni: ci sono negozi che hanno chiuso, aziende che hanno chiuso, cittadini che hanno perso posti di lavoro per l'influenza di queste lobby. Quindi che non ci si limiti solo a regolamentare il futuro ma si ricerchino le responsabilità di quelle azioni e di quegli errori ma soprattutto delle premeditazioni criminali che in questi anni ci sono state.


  Alfred Sant (S&D). – Madam President, in the eurozone regulation at European level is still developing, sometimes by trial and error. The role of the top managers is crucial in setting, interpreting and implementing regulatory texts. On that basis, new administrative structures and practice will eventually be developed, as the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union beckon. Complex interests are at play – national and transnational, state and private. Subject to such complex pressures, those managing and arbitrating the euro’s regulatory movement must be totally neutral. All States and corporate actors, the general European public, the regulators themselves, must have the assurance that this is the case. That assurance is not available as of now.

Post-employment calculations and expectations can colour the way in which the regulatory process is being developed. Also, post-employment the inside information and know-how obtained when working in regulatory mode can serve to give advantages to one’s new employer, but the revolving door practice is still being tolerated. There is, too, a reverse revolving door issue. We need to understand how conflicts of interest could arise from positions held pre-public employment when nominating people to top regulatory or executive positions. That problem, too, cannot be ignored. We should not tolerate the contamination of the regulatory neutrality that the eurozone requires if it is to develop properly.


  Mikuláš Peksa (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, I am standing here today to denounce the problem of revolving doors between EU institutions and private lobby groups. Too often, senior EU officials leave their high level positions in order to exploit inside information and contacts to the benefit of private sector lobbying.

Whilst senior EU officials already have the obligation to report on the new functions they intend to take, this is too often ignored. Post-public employment conflict of interest has really become a systemic problem that has the potential to endanger our integrity and reputation.

EU institutions should be an example of high ethical and transparency standards. This is why I call on the Commission to do more to prevent such conflicts of interests and on the European Court of Auditors to look into this systemic issue and identify best practices.

Last October, the Commission promised to review the post-employment ethical regulations. And in order not just to criticise, but also to provide some solutions, I would like to ask for four things: first, a harmonised legal framework, which would apply the same ethical standards at EU and national level; second, establishment of an independent ethical body to investigate all problematic cases; third, a mandatory 12-months’ cooling-off period to forbid a former senior EU official to lobby his ex-colleagues. Finally, in order to ensure maximum transparency of our public institutions, declarations of interests and finding of conflicts of interests shall be published online to make it accessible to all citizens.


  Maximilian Krah (ID). – Frau Präsidentin, verehrte Kolleginnen und Kollegen. Wir befinden uns hier in einer Zwickmühle. Auf der einen Seite sind alle Bedenken, die gegen den Wechsel aus den europäischen Institutionen in die Privatwirtschaft vorgetragen wurden, berechtigt, sie verärgern zu Recht die Öffentlichkeit. Zum anderen wollen wir aber nicht, dass es keinen Ausweg aus öffentlichen Ämtern gibt. Öffentliche Ämter werden auf Zeit verliehen. Wir sind darauf angewiesen, talentierte Köpfe aus der Privatwirtschaft in die Institutionen zu holen, und umgekehrt müssen diese Köpfe wissen, dass es für sie keine Falle ist, sondern dass auch die Möglichkeit besteht, nachdem sie ihren Dienst geleistet haben, in andere Aufgaben zurückzukehren.

Das heißt, Probleme sind vorprogrammiert, und der Umgang damit kann nicht darin liegen, eine derartige Überregulierung zu schaffen, dass diese Menschen nicht mehr kommen. Denn das schadet uns, weil wir die Kompetenz brauchen.

Insofern ist die Lösung das, was mein Kollege Kuhs bereits angesprochen hat, nämlich die persönliche Betroffenheit zu stärken, indem wir Fälle offensichtlichen Missbrauchs an die Öffentlichkeit geben. Das Korrektiv für politisches Fehlverhalten ist eine kritische Öffentlichkeit, aber nicht die hundertste oder tausendste Behörde mit Regularien.


  Maria Grapini (S&D). – Doamnă președintă, domnule comisar, revenim cu această dezbatere, pentru că nu este prima dată când vorbim de conflictul de interese și, mai ales, de prevenirea conflictului de interese.

Vreau să mă refer la ultima dezbatere, din 24 octombrie anul trecut, când domnul comisar Mimica ne spunea aici că da, recunoaște că trebuie să facem o revizuire, o revizuire a cadrului juridic, să-l armonizăm, să verificăm acest conflict de interese, să fie uniform în toate agențiile. Este straniu, de asemenea, că de atunci, din 24 octombrie, Comisia nu a venit cu nici o măsură concretă (pentru că așa promitea domnul comisar, că va vorbi și cu noua Comisie și se va veni cu măsuri concrete).

Sigur că reglementarea piețelor financiare europene, modul de reglementare, modul de supraveghere influențează întreaga piața internă și nu înțeleg decizia Consiliului și a Comisiei de a avea aceasta indiferență în evaluarea conflictului de interese. De asemenea, nu înțeleg cum poate să spună un comisar că, după angajare, post angajare, verificăm dacă există conflict de interese. Vorbim de prevenție, putem verifica înainte, iar cazul concret adus în această întrebare cred că trebuie să fie rezolvat urgent și să nu poată să fie angajat acest domn dacă are conflicte de interese recunoscute, de fapt.


  Marek Paweł Balt (S&D). – Szanowna Pani Przewodnicząca! W interesie instytucji europejskiej jest między innymi zapobieganie nadużyciom i łamaniu prawa przez instytucje podległe. Zastanawia transfer polegający na tym, że pan Adam Farkas, zajmujący ważne stanowisko kontrolne, nagle staje się dyrektorem stowarzyszenia, które może lobbować i wpływać na instytucje unijne. Rodzi to podejrzenie o możliwość wywierania wpływu z korzyścią dla wcześniej wspomnianego stowarzyszenia, jak i innych zainteresowanych instytucji.

W interesie Komisji Europejskiej oraz Parlamentu Europejskiego jest monitorowanie takich przypadków i zapobieganie im. Dlatego chciałbym zapytać, czy Komisja Europejska zamierza kontrolować pracę Europejskiego Urzędu Nadzoru Bankowego oraz Stowarzyszenia Rynków Finansowych w Europie i sprawdzić, czy aby nie wykorzystano wpływów pana Farkasa. Jeśli tak, czy możemy liczyć na sprawozdanie z takiej kontroli?


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  Traian Băsescu (PPE). – Doamnă președintă, legat de conflictul de interese, aș spune că este izvorul celor mai importante fraude care se petrec în sistemul economic al Uniunii Europene. Conflictul de interese este un subiect care rămâne continuu în actualitate. Din păcate, conflictul de interese este reglementat și interpretat diferit în statele membre ale Uniunii Europene.

Nerespectarea unor criterii severe în reglementarea conflictului de interese este cea care ne și diferențiază de la țară la țară. Sunt unele țări care dau o atenție deosebită conflictului de interese, altele au o legislație relaxată. Dar conflictul de interese afectează și activitatea administrației locale, a administrației centrale.

De aceea, propun Comisiei ca, într-un termen rezonabil, să vină cu o propunere de reglementare a conflictului de interese, universal valabilă în toate statele Uniunii Europene și în toate domeniile, pentru că aici este izvorul corupției la nivelul Uniunii Europene.


  Bogdan Rzońca (ECR). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Na kanwie tej bardzo interesującej dyskusji chciałbym poruszyć temat, nie oczekując od razu na odpowiedź, o którym mówi cała Europa. Wszyscy wiedzą, że budujemy Nowy Zielony Ład, że będą na to przeznaczane ogromne środki finansowe. Widzę, bo uczestniczę w procesie legislacyjnym, duże zainteresowanie tym procesem różnych grup lobbingowych i rynków finansowych. Chciałbym więc poprosić może o to, żebyśmy na tym etapie wyraźnie oddzielili osoby, które pracują przy tym procesie legislacyjnym od osób, które będą później (myślę tu o późniejszych doradcach różnych firm) korzystały albo doradzały w pobieraniu tych pieniędzy czy implementowaniu ogromnych środków finansowych, które będą dostępne. Boję się, że mogą powstać bańki finansowe i różnego rodzaju oszustwa, więc na tym etapie proszę zwrócić na to uwagę.


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  Janez Lenarčič, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I listened very carefully to the comments that you made on this important matter. First of all, I would like to assure you all that, first, the Commission is not indifferent to issues of potential conflicts of interest, and, second, we are certainly not taking lightly this, or any other, case involving a potential conflict of interests. It is not for the Commission to play the role of an advocate for a decision taken by an independent body, the Board of Supervisors of the EBA, but we do feel that we can shed some additional light. I’ll try to do so in view of the comments just made.

First of all, the representative of the Commission on the Board of Supervisors, who, I repeat, does not have voting rights, tried to get restrictions which were as strict as possible because there was indeed the finding that this case involved a conflict of interest. The Board of Supervisors looked very carefully into this matter and was of the view that the conflict of interest could be managed by imposing additional restrictions, such that go beyond the minimum condition applied to senior officials. So the length of the period prohibiting the lobbying contracts vis—à-vis the former staff is twice the duration as compared to the minimum, and so on. I won’t go into the details of the restrictions now, but the Board had to weigh and find the right balance between the interests of the public, on the one hand, and the rights of a person to pursue their work.

An important question was raised among others: who would monitor and ensure the implementation and enforcement of this decision? I would like to note that the decision by the EBA Board of Supervisors includes a provision on implementation. The restrictions that were imposed will be communicated to the EBA staff and they will be required to report to the Chairperson on any contacts with Mr Farkas after he has left the service of the EBA. Furthermore, the EBA is subject to an obligation to inform the public each year on the implementation of the prohibition on lobbying and advocacy, including a list of the cases assessed. Mr Farkas, as any other active or former staff member, is subject to the Staff Regulations and disciplinary proceedings could be opened against him in case of breach, including after his departure from the EBA. Were the EBA Board of Supervisors or the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to become aware of evidence of failure, following an administrative investigation and eventual disciplinary proceedings, Mr Farkas could be subject to disciplinary measures, as defined in the Staff Regulations. I think this explains that not everything is left to chance. There are provisions in place that should ensure that these restrictions are properly implemented.

To conclude, let me reiterate that the Commission ensures – or tries to ensure – that high ethical standards are in place across all the agencies by having in place a harmonised legal framework. However, it is the responsibility of, in this case, the EBA Board of Supervisors to implement this legal framework by taking decisions independently on post-employment restrictions, in accordance with its founding regulation and with the Staff Regulations. It is also the responsibility of the EBA Board of Supervisors to ensure that these decisions are properly monitored and their implementation enforced.

Finally, the Commission is always seeking to improve the existing framework. The existing ethical framework is the subject of constant review. We are looking for possible improvements, including, as I mentioned earlier, by setting up an independent ethical body and, I repeat, we are looking forward to close collaboration with the European Parliament, the European Ombudsman and other institutions in this process.


  Przewodnicząca. – Otrzymałam jeden projekt rezolucji złożony zgodnie z art. 136 ust. 5 Regulaminu.

Zamykam debatę.

Głosowanie odbędzie się dzisiaj, w czwartek 16 stycznia 2020 r.

Posledná úprava: 19. apríla 2024Právne upozornenie - Politika ochrany súkromia