European Commission enabled Neelie Kroes to secretly lobby for Uber: report
The European Commission at least partially enabled Neelie Kroes to secretly lobby for Uber in 2015, a matter that brought the former Dutch European Commissioner into disrepute last year. Kroes wanted to be open about her request to take on an advisory role for Uber, but the European Commission convinced her to terminate the consent procedure prematurely, thus keeping it out of the public eye, Follow the Money reports based on documents leaked by former Uber lobbyist and whistleblower Mark MacGann.
Last summer, international media reported that Kroes secretly lobbied for Uber in 2015 during her cool-down period - an 18-month period during which a former Commissioner is prohibited from working outside the public sector in areas that affect EU policy unless they receive permission.
Kroes never got that permission, but leaked documents from the Uber Files showed Kroes approaching fellow VVD members like Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp, and Infrastructure Minister Melanie Schultz. She also discussed Uber with European Commissioners and PvdA Cabinet members Wilma Mansveld (State Secretary of Infrastructure) and Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Minister of Finance).
However, according to Follow the Money, another document from the Uber Files shows that the European Commission was well aware that Kroes was working for Uber. In a letter the VVD politician wrote to then-European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Kroes stressed that she wanted to be open about the matter. “I have no intention of circumventing the principle of transparency,” she wrote.
Kroes also started the application process to get permission for her work with Uber. But when it turned out that the decision would be negative, she withdrew her request at Juncker’s insistence. According to FTM, the Commission often does this with requests from former Commissioners that have little chance of success, with the result that the requests are never made public. That makes monitoring compliance with the cool-down period more challenging.
According to FTM, the European Commission sees no reason to change this practice for the time being.