The talks initiated in 2016 on a compulsory transparency register for interest representatives at European level resumed on 16 June. Whereas the Council of the EU and the European Parliament had previously refused to restrict their meetings solely to lobbyists on the register, the negotiations now seem to be making progress against a more optimistic backdrop. There remains some tension over definition of the activities concerned, however. The current framework entails a broad definition of lobbying, but a recent proposal would only encompass « activities aimed at promoting certain interests through interactions with any one of the three signatory institutions, its members or officials ». This would therefore exclude indirect lobbying. According to Transparency International, many interactions would fall outside the framework under such a definition, including contracts with intermediaries, use of media or far-reaching communications such as advertising in the European district. (Contexte, 16 June 2020) (Europarl, 16 June 2020)
The Brussels-based NGO Corporate Europe Observatory accuses Pernille Weiss, a Danish MEP of the European People’s Party (EPP), of not declaring her financial links with Danish Shipping, a maritime transport lobby group, when she has worked in the sector. Ms Weiss is criticised for having received funding from the interest group – to which shipowner Maersk belongs – for her 2019 election campaign, and then for having tabled amendments in line with the shipping industry’s wishes. (Contexte, 19 June 2020) (EUobserver, 18 June 2020)
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
On 1 July, the OECD published the French version of its OECD Public Integrity Handbook, which provides guidance to governments, businesses and civil society. The Handbook explains the 13 principles of the OECD’s Recommendation on Public Integrity, identifies challenges in putting them into practice and outlines advice on how to improve cooperation between entities within government.
On Monday 8 June, the former director of the IAAF’s anti-doping department, Gabriel Dollé, appeared in court on « passive corruption » charges. The French judicial authorities suspect him of having received EUR 190,000 in bribes to cover up doping cases in Russian athletics. He has acknowledged having held up the suspensions of several athletes. (Le Monde, 9 June 2020). For his part, former British athlete Sebastian Coe, the current President of World Athletics, is poised to become a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). And yet, last December, when a list of candidates was unveiled which did not include Mr Coe’s name, the IOC President had stated that his nomination had not been selected owing to risks of conflicts of interest associated with his marketing agency, CSM Sports and Entertainment, and his activities in the Olympic movement. His membership has drawn fierce criticism, while an investigation by the Daily Telegraph raises concerns that CSM may have profited from deals with Japanese conglomerate Dentsu, which owns World Athletics’ commercial rights. (Eurosport, 10 June 2020) (Daily Mail, 21 June 2020)
The investigation opened in 2015 in Switzerland against former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, following undocumented payments made to Michel Platini totalling CHF 2m, has been extended to include the latter. In a letter dated 5 June and signed by prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand, the Swiss federal prosecutor’s office extends its investigation to Michel Platini, who is suspected of being an « accomplice of criminal mismanagement, misappropriation and acts of forgery ». The former boss of UEFA is now viewed as an accused person. (DH, 26 June 2020)