24

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The role (and accountability) of the President of the Eurogroup

03-10-2019

This note provides an overview of the role of the President of the Eurogroup, the procedures for his/her appointment, as well as proposals on a “full time position” as part of the wider debate on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union. The note also briefly addresses the mandate and working methods of the Eurogroup. In addition, this note refers to the debate around the transparency of Eurogroup proceedings. It is updated regularly.

This note provides an overview of the role of the President of the Eurogroup, the procedures for his/her appointment, as well as proposals on a “full time position” as part of the wider debate on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union. The note also briefly addresses the mandate and working methods of the Eurogroup. In addition, this note refers to the debate around the transparency of Eurogroup proceedings. It is updated regularly.

The European Ombudsman: Reflections on the role and its potential

20-11-2018

The European Ombudsman is a body established to ensure that maladministration in the EU institutions is addressed and where possible remedied. From the establishment of the European Ombudsman, personalities and the open-ended character of the notion of maladministration have been relevant in shaping the activity of the office. Maladministration is widely accepted to be a sphere of inappropriate behaviour of the administration that goes beyond simple illegality. The particularity of the Ombudsman ...

The European Ombudsman is a body established to ensure that maladministration in the EU institutions is addressed and where possible remedied. From the establishment of the European Ombudsman, personalities and the open-ended character of the notion of maladministration have been relevant in shaping the activity of the office. Maladministration is widely accepted to be a sphere of inappropriate behaviour of the administration that goes beyond simple illegality. The particularity of the Ombudsman lies therefore on the fact that it is able, through the exercise of 'soft power', to tackle issues that would escape the scrutiny of the Court of Justice of the EU. This paper provides an overview of the activity of the Ombudsman, and attempts to identify the main areas of activity in quantitative terms, the main institutions to which the Ombudsman addresses inquiries and recommendations and highlights the proactive role exercised by this body so far. The compliance rate with the recommendations of the Ombudsman is rather high, although it would seem to decrease where the Ombudsman, by issuing critical remarks, exercises an 'educational' function. This paper also sets out some proposals to modify the Statute, with some less-extensive proposals, that would take into account already established practices, and other more far-reaching proposals, that would need however to be carefully considered so as not to distort the nature of the body.

Revolving doors in the EU and US

04-07-2018

The flow of officials and politicians between the public and private sector has in the past few years given rise to calls for more transparency and accountability. In order to mitigate the reputational damage to public institutions by problematic use of the 'revolving door', this phenomenon is increasingly being regulated at national level. In the United States, President Trump recently changed the rules put in place by his predecessor to slow the revolving door. As shown by press coverage, the US ...

The flow of officials and politicians between the public and private sector has in the past few years given rise to calls for more transparency and accountability. In order to mitigate the reputational damage to public institutions by problematic use of the 'revolving door', this phenomenon is increasingly being regulated at national level. In the United States, President Trump recently changed the rules put in place by his predecessor to slow the revolving door. As shown by press coverage, the US public remains unconvinced. Scepticism may be fuelled by new exceptions made to the rules – retroactive ethics pledge waivers – and the refusal of the White House to disclose the numbers or beneficiaries of said waivers. Watchdog organisations argue that not only has the Trump administration so far failed to 'drain the swamp', it has ended up doing quite the opposite. In the EU, where revolving door cases are increasingly being covered in the media, both the European Parliament and Commission have adopted Codes of Conduct, regulating the activities of current and former Members, Commissioners, and even staff. The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has on numerous occasions spoken out in favour of further measures, such as 'cooling-off periods', and has carried out several inquiries into potentially problematic revolving door cases. Following calls from Parliament, the Juncker Commission adopted a new and stronger Code of Conduct for Commissioners early in 2018. Even so, no one single Code can hope to bring an end to the debate.