Whoiswho: The decsion to remove contact information from the database. How it would be useful? 

Legal - June 6, 2023

EU Whoiswho is the Official Electronic Directory of the European Union. It contains all the organisational charts of the EU institutions, bodies and agencies, which are available in all official european languages. 

The personal data in this directory are provided by the institutions, bodies and agencies of the European Union. Through this tool is possible to find anyone and anything that is connected to the work of the European institutions, including all their details and contacts. The personal data are directly provided by the Eu institutions, bodies and agencies. 

The platform is extremely useful since it allows to directly contact the person inside the EU that work on something specifically in a specific location, from the bottom to the top of the executive. It also represents a good way to make the EU more transparent in the view of the European citizens, which through this database have the possibility to search and know all the figures that are involved in the decision-making process at different levels, from the lowest to the highest one.  

But, with a new policy that the Eu decided to pursue, the names of the lower-staff were deleted from the database of Eu Whoiswho. In the view of the European Commission this action intends to face the corruption and the general pressure from external parties.
The incentive at the basis of this kind of elimination from the platform was certainly provided by the notorious Qatar gate, which disrupted the European Union from its core, making it vulnerable and demonstrating that even its institutions and people are not exempt from influence from third parties.

Qatar gate represents an international scandal linked to Qatar state interests. Real acts of collusion and corruption occurred, allegedly affecting the vote for the awarding of the 2022 World Cup. A series of complex political and financial entanglements that would thus have determined the surprising victory of the small but very rich Gulf state, whose emirs are among other things also owners of the famous Paris Saint Germain soccer team. The scandal connected to the World Cup in Qatar represents a sad episode for the whole European Union, which has been overwhelmed by this scandal, which even now continues to spread like wildfire. And it is exactly this involvement of different parties and different European actors that has made the inefficiency of internal control systems increasingly visible and obvious to the entire world. Precisely in response to this, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, is planning to carry out sweeping reforms to fight against corruption, conflict of interest and cronyism-proof that could involve the Parliament. As an example, the Memebers of Parliament are being asked to reveal whether there are or have been any meetings with interest groups. Moreover, the European Commission is reducing the authorization in terms of travels that are or should be paid from third parties. 

So the Commission’s own decision to remove some names from the Whoiswho database would seem to be in line with a widely understood desire to reform the European institutional set-up on anti-corruption.

Removing the contacts from the database intends to eliminate the possibility of Union workers being contacted except by their immediate superiors and close associates. But, fundamentally, removing these names from the web has led to a condition where they will, quite simply, no longer be able to receive calls. Which does not, of course, exclude them from entering into a corruption ring or receiving pressure from outside parties. 

Considering all we said before, we can rightly agree with Emma Brown, the vice president of the Society of European Affairs Professionals, which is a Brussels lobby for Brussels lobbyists, which recently declared that: “Removing contact information for the Commission’s worker bees will make the work of those in public affairs more difficult, represent a setback for transparency and lead to a more opaque EU decision-making process.”