He lost the EU seat to Covid folly, and former commissioner Hogan resurrected a lobbyist. “Indicate if he also took two charges”

In Europe there is a new champion for “revolving doorsThis is the former commissioner. Hogan, The key man in the negotiations between Europe and the US for energy and trade, and the mediator of future relations with the UK after Brexit. However, someone will remember him more for walking off the scene with great fanfare: in August 2020 he had to Resignation for one ring Foolish away from each other: He was immortalized at a “Social Dinner” in golf club The Irish Parliament without a mask, in open violation of the restrictions imposed; He wanted to go there in good clothes, and so he passed his flat in County Kildare, in violation of the curfew in force for the inhabitants; On the way he was also fined for driving with his mobile phone in hand. A year after his resignation, Lord Hogan is back on top of the wave: He has new job new Storm to deal with.

In mid-September was appointed by for Piper, a global legal consultancy firm with offices all over the world. Hogan has his own office in Brussels and his role is “Senior Strategic and Policy Advisor to the DLA’s Global Government Affairs and Advisory Team”. In this capacity, he provides “an unparalleled level of strategic advice and advice to clients, wherever they are in the world”. The question posed a few days ago in the corridors of the European Parliament is: But Hogan? to caution someone?

Because he definitely should have done it, but he didn’t. Specifically to discourage the “fence jump” in 2018, the commission rewritten behavioral rules of its members. In Article 11, the Regulation sets a clear limitation: for two years From the end of their term, the former commissioners who intend to implement aprofitable professional activity They are in some way connected with the activities of the Federation or which – the text states – involve “pressure”, they must inform and authorize the Commission. Then the task is checked by a Independent Ethics Committee Assessment of the risks of potential conflict with the interests of the Union.

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There are many doubts that this is the case in the Hogan case. In fact, his engagement was not learned until after ccommunications companies Released in mid-September by the international law firm that appointed him, then taken up by a Irish newspaper on the legal profession. A few days later the news bounced back on news websites and when journalists asked for clarification in Brussels, a European Commission spokesperson replied that Wasn’t able to figure it out Whether or not the previous commissioner has informed his new position. Hogan tried to defend ex officio, arguing that in May 2020, while he was still in office, said commission gave the go-ahead Consulting I(n) in favor of the DLA based on a written commitment not to deal with matters covered by its previous jurisdiction. Hogan argues that the new assignment is a natural continuation of the other, underlining the suspicion that he did not ask for real pre-authorization for the new job.

The issue is also debatable for a very concrete inclusion that seems more ironic. Like all previous commissioners, Hogan also receives a special letter from the commission “transitional allowance”, an element of remuneration that was expressly introduced in the 2016 regulation specifically to discourage “revolving doors,” that is, taking on tasks that bring fresh water of knowledge and relationships established during delegation to private companies as dowry. delegates. This item has been added toArticle 10 From the “Economic treatment of high office holders in the European Union” and only for 2022 it was included in the budget 2.8 million from the euro. The doubt hovering is this: If Hogan had not reported the start of the new business, would he have continued to receive the aforementioned compensation? This means European taxpayers’ money Not to be a member of a pressure group And that of the company To do that?

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The question is further grounded in the fact that the relocation allowance was specifically modified so that it does not translate into a “trap” on the ambitions of the previous commissioners, but as a slip into the so-called “cooling period”: the new task does not clearly conflict with the old one, the former commissioners can get On the proportional wage and the Brussels allowance is reduced proportionately Until they reach the “salary cap” they had when they were in their position. The hypothesis of elegant deception of the rules prompts European Parliamentarians to seek clarification. Italian companies are also moving in, notably the M5S which is about to submit a question to the commission to see if the mission has been reported, evaluated and approved. “If this is not the case, we will face a worrying case of damage to the financial interests of the European Union. This must be clarified immediately”, says the MEP Sabrina Bingoli The After all, it’s not really a question of bruscolini: based on the length of service, compensation is in effect 40 to 60% of salary On the basis that the holder of the position took over at the end of his duties: in the case of delegates, we are talking about them About 22 thousand euros per month, excluding compensation.

On the other hand, the Hogan case comes at a very delicate moment: By December, the commission was asked to reconsider the whole matter. In January 2020, the European Parliament approved a Precision In which it is required that there be an ethics committee common to all EU institutions, i.e. to oversee both the Commission and Parliament, with the aim of achieving real transparency and preventing conflicts of interest. “An essential tool for maintaining the confidence of European citizens in institutions,” the MEP اقتراح proposal wrote Daniel Friend. But even this body will not be able to impose sanctions, which is the only way to approve the Freund report.

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Respecting the fact, the Treaty on the Internal Work of the Union (TFUE) provides for a specific penalty by the Council against members or former members who have violated the duties of righteousness, including failure to hold open positions. conflict of interest. Sanctions can be issued by the Court of Justice and, depending on the circumstances, provide for retirement or even denial of a pension. How many times this has happened, however, is unknown, and the antecedents on the subject – strangely – are unknown and In the opinions expressed by the committees there is still mention of the need to present Effective penalties. The suspicion, given the trend, is that they will never arrive.

Thelma Binder

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