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Campaigners attack lax lobby rules

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Campaigners attack lax lobby rules
Edda Müller from Transparency International. Photo: DPA
14:17 CEST+02:00
Germany should introduce a compulsory register of lobbyists and ban former government ministers from taking jobs in industry for three years after leaving office, Transparency International said on Monday.

Presenting a report into lobbying in Germany, the anti-corruption group called for law changes.

“We need lobbying in Germany to finally be regulated,” head of Transparency International Germany, Edda Müller said.

At the moment ex-ministers are barred from taking industry jobs for 12 months, but Müller said that was not enough and wants to see it extended to a three-year gap.

Former health minister Daniel Bahr is the latest ex-minister to take up job in private industry, working for insurance giant Allianz.

Other ex-ministers and politicians to cross from public to private lobbying include;

  • Former development minister Dirk Niebel who will work as a lobbyist for arms firm Rheinmetall from next year
  • Eckart von Klaeden who became Daimler's chief lobbyist after leaving Merkel's cabinet in 2013
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel’s former chief of staff, Roland Pofalla, joined Deutsche Bahn after quitting government

The moves have prompted criticism that private companies are buying former government insiders to influence policy. 

Transparency International also wants a compulsory register of lobbyists with details of their financing to shed more light on links between government and business and to increase the transparency of lobbyists.

There are around 4,000 lobbying organizations in Germany, but no mandatory lobby register. 

The study's author, Rudolf Speth from the Free University in Berlin, said the influencing of politics had changed. Before unions were the most important players in lobbying, but the power now lies with companies who hire PR firms and lawyers.

Alongside the register and three-year work ban, Transparency International also called for:

  • More details of politicians' secondary earnings to be released
  • Transparency in political donations and sponsorship
  • More transparency of roles filled by special advisory boards

SEE ALSO: German firms top EU lobbying list

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