Germany: Brandenburg State Parliament to Consider 'Revolving Door' Employment of Ministers

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By Andrea Barbara Schuessler

Oct. 6—The Brandenburg state parliament will begin considering next month a mandatory three-year waiting period between the time a minister leaves government service and begins employment with a private-sector company whose activities might pose a conflict of interest, Sandra Lange, a parliamentary spokeswoman, told Bloomberg BNA.

The Green Party proposal will be discussed as part of the state's Minister Act—which regulates, among other things, ministerial salaries and the rules for accepting gifts—in a plenary session between Nov. 18 and 20, Lange said.

“The regulations are geared towards independence in office duties and the avoidance of conflicts of interest,” according to the proposal's explanatory statement.

The Berlin-based nongovernmental organization Transparency International Germany supports the proposal, the head of its political working group Wolfgang Jaeckle saying on Sept. 28 that “only a three-year waiting period guarantees a sufficiently long enough cooling period to ensure the avoidance of conflicts of interest.”

Under federal legislation approved in July by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, cabinet members and parliamentary state secretaries cannot accept jobs outside the public service within 18 months after leaving office. The parliament's action came in response to criticism about some top politicians taking jobs in the private sector after leaving the government. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, for example, took a position with Nord Stream AG, whose principal owner is the Russian company Gazprom, just a few weeks after leaving office, while Ronald Pofalla, formerly head of the Chancellor's office, took a position as chief representative for political and international relations with Deutsche Bahn AG.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Barbara Schuessler in Berlin at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at rvollmar@bna.com

The Green Party proposal is available at http://www.landtag.brandenburg.de/media_fast/5701/1477.pdf, full text of Brandenburg's Minister Act at http://bravors.brandenburg.de/de/gesetze-212991, both in German.

For more information on German HR law and regulation, see the Germany primer.