Thursday

22nd Feb 2024

Kroes' Uber lobbying needs wide investigation, say campaigners

  • Revolving doors of former EU commissioners, including Neelie Kroes caricatured in centre, was already an issue in 2016 when this picture was taken (Photo: Aleksandra Eriksson)
Listen to article

Transparency campaigners are demanding the European Commission launch a full investigation into Uber lobbyist and former commission vice-president Neelie Kroes.

The Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory advocacy group says the wide probe is needed in light of her EU obligations to behave with "integrity and discretion".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

In a letter sent to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday (14 July), the NGO further demanded Kroes' access badge to the institution be revoked and that Uber be stripped from the EU's joint-transparency register.

"There should also be a full investigation into how the commission handled these matters in the 2014-16 period," they said.

Kroes was among the high-profile figures named in the Uber Files, an investigation released earlier this week that showed how the firm muscled its way into markets.

She was commission competition chief from 2004-10, and then became the digital agenda commissioner up until 2014.

The Uber Files investigation revealed she was offering to arrange meetings for Uber during her 18-month cooling off period after leaving the commission. She had also secretly helped Uber lobby the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, according to the Guardian.

The European Commission has since sent Kroes a letter, demanding an explanation.

But campaigners say a proper investigation is needed, as well as an overhaul of the Commissioner revolving doors rules.

Lobbying the Commission

The statement comes amid new findings of how many times lobbyists meet with Von der Leyen's team of European Commissioners.

Transparency International EU, also on Thursday, says commissioners and their high-level staff have held a total of 14,397 meetings with lobbyists since the start of Von der Leyen's term in 2019.

Some 28 percent of those meetings were with companies, followed by 26 percent with trade and business associations, and 25 percent with NGOs.

The remainder were divided up between trade unions, consultancies, research institutions, among others.

Most of those meetings were held with commissioner cabinet members.

Issues dealing with the European Green Deal ranked top in terms of number of meetings, followed by the internal market and then financial services.

BusinessEurope, a Brussels-based umbrella group representing firms, held the most top level meetings, it said.

EU Commission to probe Kroes' Uber lobbying

In 2016, it was revealed former EU commission vice-president Neelie Kroes failed to disclose her role in an offshore company. Now, she is engulfed in controversy once again over Uber.

EU gig workers compromise dubbed ‘a disaster for workers’

After several attempts to reach a common position, the EU Council could finally reach an agreement on the platform workers' rules at the upcoming ministerial meeting — but disagreements over the employment status of these workers remain sharp.

Investigation

Europe's missing mails

How the EU Commission and national governments delete official emails and text messages — creating areas of decision-making without oversight and control.

Feature

Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza

Despite the high risk of dying from war, starvation or disease, Gazans are still not allowed to enter Egypt. Except those who bribe the authorities. And the EU mission EUBAM Rafah cannot be deployed due to security reasons.

'Nightmare' 2024 sees Orbán struggle ahead of EU elections

Viktor Orbán admits that 2024 "could not have started any worse" for his government. The sex-abuse scandal that led to the resignation of the president provides an opportunity for Hungary's opposition — but their fragmentation could be a major obstacle.

Latest News

  1. EU auditors: rule-of-law budget protections only partial success
  2. EU's €723bn Covid recovery fund saw growth, but doubts remain
  3. Von der Leyen rejects extremist parties, leaves door open to ECR
  4. Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist
  5. Podcast: Navalny, Ian Bremmer and "more Europe"
  6. Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza
  7. Ukraine refugees want to return home — but how?
  8. African leaders unveil continent-wide plan to buy medicines

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us