Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union

Query

Are there any cooling-off regulations in place in European countries for former members of government?

Purpose

The government wants to adopt a new rule on post-public employment. The draft law states that cooling-off periods are supposed to be between 12 and 18 months. How to deal with violations is, however, still a big question.

Content

1. Regulating the revolving door: introduction

2. Post-public employment rules in selected European countries

3. References

Summary

The movement of individuals between the public and private sectors – known as the revolving door – may lead to conflict of interest situations, increasing the risks of corruption. Given their decision-making power, access to key information and influence, former ministers and members of the government can be an important asset for private companies. Governments should thus ensure that appropriate measures are in place to avoid former public officials misusing the information and power they hold to the benefit of their private interests. Cooling-off periods, that is, the introduction of a minimum time interval restricting former public officials from accepting employment in the private sector, is the most common measure to prevent conflicts of interest. Countries in Europe have set different cooling-off periods and requirements for former members of the government wishing to join the private sector. They usually vary from one to two years and are linked to specific types of activities in the private sector. Overall, enforcement is still very weak and scandals related to post-public employment continue to appear in the media.

Authors

Maira Martini, Transparency International tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Date

26/06/2015

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