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Former European Commissioner and prominent VVD Neelie Kroes secretly lobbied for US company Uber in 2015 and 2016. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) came to this conclusion, which examined 124,000 internal documents of the tech company.
In the Netherlands, Platform Investico, Trouw and Financieele Dagblad conducted research on the so-called uber files† The documents, consisting of emails, transcripts, notes and chat messages, were initially leaked to the British newspaper The Guardian, which passed them on to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Cross lobbied for Uber, even though the European Commission explicitly barred her from taking a position at the tech company. The company wanted to influence taxi legislation and a criminal investigation by prosecutors through the former European commissioner. On behalf of Uber, Cross contacted several managers, senior officials and Prime Minister Rutte.
It has already been asked to join Uber’s advisory board as a member of the European Commission. Immediately after her resignation as European Commissioner in November 2014, she began to represent the interests of the company, albeit unofficially. At the end of 2015, I applied for permission from the European Commission to join the body that advises the CEO of Uber.
But the Ethics Committee rejected this request because it violated the code of conduct of the previous European commissioners. Committee Chairman Juncker also rejected Cross’s request, in light of his previous responsibilities. He instructed her to observe a cooling-off period, which was put in place to avoid the conflicts of interest of European commissioners lobbying in favor of companies after their careers in Brussels.
Cross continued to lobby informally after the rejection and took orders directly from the Uber leadership. In 2015, for example, I spoke with Prime Minister Rutte, then-VVD Ministers Camp and Schultz, Secretary of State Mansfield for Infrastructure and the Environment, and Finance Minister Dijsselbloem. Immediately after the end of the cool-down period in 2016 Joined the advisory boardFor an annual fee of two tons.
Professor Christophe Demke, an integrity expert and adviser to the European Parliament, believes this is a “clear case of conflict of interest,” he told Investico. Kroos could lose her pension for violating European code of conduct.
According to Professor Emeritus of Public Administration Leo Huberts, it doesn’t matter that it officially joined Uber only in 2016. He says a broader vision is needed beyond just formal hiring.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs, which falls under this service, says that such an envoy should not communicate with ministers or officials on behalf of the company. By the way, Uber was worth $51 billion in 2014, which is why it’s no longer a startup.
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