February 4, 2015 / 3:19 PM / 3 years ago

German officials to 'cool off' before switching to business jobs

BERLIN (Reuters) - Senior German officials from the chancellor to deputy ministers will have to observe a cooling-off period if they want to quit the government for a job in business, according to a draft law designed to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert listens during a news conference of Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, July 18, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

“If members of the government want to take up employment outside public service within 18 months of leaving office, they must notify this,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference on Wednesday.

Officials can be blocked from taking up posts in business for up to a year -- and 18 months in exceptional cases -- “if public interests are affected”, said Seibert. They would be entitled to an allowance during that cooling-off period.

Recent high-profile cases that stoked indignation in the media included Merkel’s former chief of staff, Roland Pofalla, who took up a job as a political lobbyist for state railway operator Deutsche Bahn.

Reporting by Thorsten Severin; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Stephen Brown and Catherine Evans

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