Friday

12th Aug 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe 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'.

Brazil pitches itself as answer to Ukraine war food shortages

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is pitching his Latin American country as the answer to the world food crisis following the war in Ukraine. The traditional wheat importer has now exported three million tonnes of the grain so far in 2022.

Opinion

Exploiting the Ukraine crisis for Big Business

From food policy to climate change, corporate lobbyists are exploiting the Ukraine crisis to try to slash legislation that gets in the way of profit. But this is only making things worse.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  2. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive
  3. Another migrant tragedy claims 50 lives in Greek waters
  4. Russia hits area near town with 120 rockets, says Ukraine
  5. UN expects more ships to get Ukrainian grain out
  6. Greece to end bailout-era oversight
  7. Denmark to train Ukrainian soldiers in urban warfare
  8. Russian helicopter flies into Estonia's airspace

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  2. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  3. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia
  4. EU Commission shrugs off Polish threats on rule-of-law
  5. EU urged to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians
  6. Russia puts EU in nuclear-energy paradox
  7. Almost two-thirds of Europe in danger of drought
  8. West needs to counter Russia in Africa, but how?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us