Brussels, 16 October 2012.
Transparency International welcomes the swift action taken by the European Commission in relation to the allegations concerning the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John Dalli.
The full facts of the OLAF case have yet to be disclosed and we have seen reports that Commissioner Dalli disputes elements of the Commission’s statement. We note with concern however the allegations referred to in the Commission statement that there were attempts to unduly influence EU policy making.
Jana Mittermaier, Director of the TI EU Office, said, “the Commission statement is a worrying sign that despite the efforts made in recent years to clean up, selling influence and personal connections may still be a feature of EU lobbying. If that is the case, EU institutions need to take anti-corruption measures much more seriously. This includes strict adherence to the Code of Conduct for Commissioners and a mandatory register for lobbyists and interest groups. We note that OLAF has handed its report to the Maltese Attorney General and we look forward to a thorough investigation and swift resolution of the allegations”.
Transparency International will follow the case closely as it unfolds, and awaits with interest the statement of OLAF Director-General Kessler at midday tomorrow. For now, we would like to highlight that lobbying of EU institutions is an area fraught with corruption risks.
A 2012 TI report on corruption risks in Europe (Money, Politics, Power: Corruption Risks in Europe) has also identified lobbying as a corruption risk hotspot across the Union. 19 European countries have yet to implement legislation to control lobbying, while those that have legislation in place often lack enforcement mechanism and sanctions for non-compliance.
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