Transparency campaigners voice concern over Oettinger appointment
German commissioner unsuitable and unfit to supervise EU budget and human resources portfolio say campaigners.
Campaigners are urging MEPs to oppose Oettinger being given the new portfolio | Photo Credit: European Commission
Transparency campaigners have voiced concern at plans to allocate controversial EU commissioner Günther Oettinger the role of supervising the EU budget and managing human resources.
The alliance says the German official, who is at the centre of an ongoing furore over transparency rules, is “unsuitable” and “unfit” for the role.
Oettinger, currently EU digital commissioner, is set to take over the new dossier and will be questioned later this month by MEPs about his qualifications for the post but will not face a formal confirmation vote.
The campaigners have now urged Parliament to oppose Oettinger being given the new portfolio.
- Shift in attitudes threatening to undermine the EU’s stability warns Martin Schulz
- Brexit: British PM Theresa May moves quickly to fill EU ambassador role
- Brexit: UK's EU ambassador Ivan Rogers resigns
- Scotland insists it wants to remain in single market
- Manfred Weber: EU Parliament will have 'last word' on Brexit
- Brexit: EU leaders move to reassure Parliament
- UK has 'nothing to gain' from Brexit, says new report
Normally, commissioners are subject to a confirmation hearing in front of MEPs before they are allowed to take up their post but Oettinger will merely be "questioned".
The German politician, who is also a former EU energy commissioner, has caused controversy with what were widely perceived to be provocative statements about gay marriage and Chinese people.
He was also in the news at the end of 2016 because of revelations that he flew on a lobbyist’s private plane last spring to an official meeting in Budapest.
Campaigners have now written letters to all MEPs voicing concern about Oettinger’s proposed new role.
The signatures include ILGA-Europe; the European Women’s Lobby; Transparency International EU; European Network Against Racism; Corporate Europe Observatory; IPPF European Network; Oxfam International EU Advocacy Office (Oxfam International); Volonteurope; Stichting ERGO Network (ERGO) and Lobbycontrol.
The letter says, “As organisations working towards equality, non-discrimination and campaigning for transparency and ethics, we do not think that Oettinger is suitable to oversee human resources at the European Commission.
“Oettinger has made racist, sexist and homophobic remarks on several occasions in the past, most recently at a speech he gave in an official capacity in Hamburg on 26 October.
“At this crucial moment for the EU, it is more vital than ever to have a strong and credible commitment from the European Commission to counter discrimination and act for equality for all.”
The letter goes on, “The commissioner in charge of human resources must lead by example. He or she should have clear plans for action to make equality for all a reality and speak out against racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia.
“How else would they be expected to inspire others to do the same? In our view, Oettinger is not the right person for this task.
“The commissioner responsible for human resources is also tasked with the supervision and enforcement of transparency and ethics rules, including the provisions of the EU staff regulations on revolving doors.
“Protecting the integrity of EU civil servants and the commission as a whole demands setting high standards in personal integrity. This is especially true now as the commission is still dealing with the aftermath of a string of ethics scandals involving former commissioners.”
It continues, “Oettinger has repeatedly attracted criticism over his way of interacting with lobbyists. Evidence shows that Oettinger has not been proactive in pursuing an inclusive and balanced approach to stakeholder consultation as almost 90% of his meetings have been with corporate interest groups.
“This is the highest percentage of any commissioner, and is contrary to Jean-Claude Juncker's instruction to the team of commissioners to ensure balanced stakeholder representation.
“On top of this, there have been repeated media reports of undisclosed meetings, most recently when Oettinger met with the unregistered German lobbyist Klaus Mangold during a flight on a private jet to Budapest in May 2016. To this day it remains unclear what the exact circumstances of this flight have been and if he broke ethics and/or transparency rules.
“In our view, Oettinger is unfit to inspire compliance with existing ethics and transparency rules among commission staff and his peers.”
Oettinger was not immediately available for comment.
Andrus Ansip interview, EU Budget Financing, Copyright, Mining Waste Directive, Trans-Fats, Audiovisual Media Services Directive, EU-Mercosur, 5 questions with Eva Kaili and more...
Victor Negrescu interview, Sustainable Mobility, Rare Diseases & Access to Medicine, Brexit, EU-US, Plastic Waste & Marine Litter, Youth Unemployment, 5 questions with Sirpa...
Call for a European prisons charter to tackle difficulties facing continent’s penal systems.
The PAPIRUS project offers a free and practical eLearning course for public authorities, explains Paweł Nowakowski.
The PAPIRUS project tested Public Procurement of Innovation in the field of energy efficiency of buildings and developed educational tools on proper implementation of PPI, explains Paweł...
Look again at your home appliances as they can help tackle climate change and green the economy says Paolo Falcioni.