Sunday

17th Nov 2019

Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group

  • The eurozone bank chief steps down from his post next year (Photo: Pixabay)

European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi will remain member of an opaque "lobbyist" group despite complaints.

His membership of the G30 group was "fully compatible with the independence, reputation, and integrity" of the ECB, the bank said on Wednesday (18 April).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Ombudsman Emma O'Reilly: ECB 'missed an opportunity' (Photo: European Parliament)

"This does not entail any conflict of interest," it said.

The 70-year old Italian banker, who steps down from his ECB top post next year, took part in the G30 meetings, which amounted to "intellectual debates", with "the utmost prudence", the ECB added.

The G30 is a private body based in Washington composed of central bank heads, private bank chiefs, and academics.

It meets twice a year, but does not disclose what is talked about.

Its members include British central bank head Mark Carney and Chinese bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan, as well as Draghi and the chairmen of US and Swiss banks JPMorgan and UBS, but its board of trustees, which invites new members, is anonymous.

Its talks aim "to deepen understanding of international economic and financial issues," the G30 website says

But in reality it acts as a backdoor to Draghi for "financial lobbyists", according to Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), a pro-transparency NGO in Brussels.

"Avoiding secretive meetings with representatives of big banks, some of which are even supervised by the ECB, should be a no-brainer," the NGO's Kenneth Haar said on Wednesday.

The ECB decision on Draghi came after a formal complaint by the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly.

The euro bank "missed an opportunity for increased trust" she said in reaction.

The ECB should not allow "even the slightest perception to emerge that overly close relationships exist between regulators and those they regulate," she said.

It had also failed to explain "what public interest" Draghi's membership in the G30 served, they added.

O'Reilly criticised the group's untoward secrecy.

"We still do not know for example, as it is not publicly available, who are the 'Group of 30' Board of Trustees, who control membership of the group," she said.

Her complaint was the second time the Ombudsman had voiced concern over the G30, following an earlier case in 2012.

Haar, from the pro-transparency NGO, was more outspoken.

"Draghi ignoring this [the Ombudsman] is outrageous and shows a whole new level of chutzpah … This should be a call to action for governments concerned about the fate of the EU banking sector," he said.

Ombudsman insists Draghi leaves G30 bankers group

The European Ombudsman says that "maladministration" in the European Central Bank continues to exist as long as its president remains member of the secretive 'Group of Thirty'.

EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Manchego cheese, Panjin rice and Polish vodka will all be protected under a new EU-China agreeement. But the two trading giants continue to struggle over other trade-related deals.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan politicians extradition hearing postponed
  2. Germany: EU banking union deal possible in December
  3. EIB: no more funding of fossil-fuel projects
  4. UK defence chief: Russia could trigger World War III
  5. Hungary's Varhelyi will face more questions
  6. Police put former Berlusconi MEP Comi under house arrest
  7. MEPs criticise Poland for criminalising sex education
  8. UK will not name new commissioner before election

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. France unveils new model EU enlargement
  2. Key moments for new commission This WEEK
  3. EU threatens legal action against UK over commissioner
  4. Corruption in the Balkans: the elephant in the room
  5. Green MEPs unconvinced by Romanian commissioner
  6. EU states fell short on sharing refugees, say auditors
  7. Hungary's commissioner-to-be grilled over loyalty to Orban
  8. Widow's plea as EU diplomats debate Magnitsky Act

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us