Maritime lobby buying up European Union officials

In:
12Jul2010

Fipra, a public relations consultant that actively lobbying on maritime issues in Europe, is busy plucking away European Union officials for their lobbying firm and that has some worried about transparency in the EU administration.  Malta's Joe Borg, the commissioner responsible for maritime affairs and fisheries until last year, has been hired by Fipra and the EU has allowed Borg to work there, citing no evidence of a possible conflict of interest.

Mr Borg is to join his old colleague John Richardson, a former director in the European Commission's "Directorate General Mare," the EU's maritime and fisheries department, who in September 2008 became Fipra's "maritime policy and diplomacy special advisor."

Thus far, a total so far of six of the 13 EU commissioners who retired earlier this year have now gone on to work for banks, lobbying firms, insurance companies and airlines.

This pertains to Royal Caribbean as John RIchardson announced to the EU commission that a client of his will be Royal Caribbean, the second largest cruise company in the world, and the EU reported back "It was considered at that point in time that his envisaged activities would not be incompatible with his former functions."  Making matters more interesting, Fipra's website says that Fipra's chairman, Peter Lehrell, "and his family have a special affection" for the company.

The concern by some is Fipra's close contact with Royal Caribbean and some of their members positions in the European Union could cause conflicts of interest.