Following a complaint from Corporate Europe Observatory, the European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros today clarified that there is no maladministration in Mario Draghi’s membership of the Group of Thirty and that the independence, reputation, and integrity of the European Central Bank (ECB), whose Draghi is President, are not undermined.
The Group of Thirty, chaired by former ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet, is composed of high-level representatives from central banks, international public financial bodies, private banks, and investment companies, as well as politicians and academics. The group discusses important international economic, financial, and policy developments and publishes reports.
Corporate Europe Observatory is an NGO, which argued that the Group of Thirty is a "lobbying vehicle" for promoting financial interests of the private sector and consequently, it called on the ECB to require Mr Draghi to leave the Group. On the other hand, the ECB said that the Group of Thirty is not a lobby or interest group, but rather a forum for exchanging views and as a result, it is essential for the ECB President to have regular meetings with representatives of the public and private sectors.
The European Ombudsman today stated that the Group of Thirty's membership, funding, and aims are too diverse for it to be regarded as an interest group. In particular, its members come from the private sector, public sector and academia, while its funding comes from a variety of sources, both private and public and as a result, the Group of Thirty constitutes a discussion forum.
However, the Ombudsman advised the ECB to improve its transparency by mentioning the President's membership of the Group of Thirty on its website and to take appropriate steps to raise further the quality of its communication with the public.