The French newspaper “Liberation” raises the charge of conflict of interest against Austria’s EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn: Hahn is said to have allowed lobbyists to invite him to hunting trips and expensive meals without reporting this, as intended, the Ö1 and the “Standard” appealed “Tonight on reports from the” Liberation “.
Hahn denies the allegations. A spokeswoman emphasized this evening to ORF.at that “everything has already been conclusively clarified”, and Hahn rejects the allegations “in the strongest possible way”.
Invitation to a hunting party “purely private nature”
Hahn therefore took part in a hunting party in December 2015 that was paid for by a lobby organization for large landowners (ELO). According to “Liberation”, he would have been obliged under the code of conduct to register his participation in the Commission.
According to the Ö1 evening journal and “Standard”, a Hahn spokesman stated that the EU commissioner’s invitation was “purely of a private nature”. He took part in the company of his partner at the time, who had a hunting license. It was therefore not necessary to enter this in the transparency register.
The focus is also on dining invitations
According to “Standard”, Hahn is also chalking up another conflict of interest: In June 2021, he met three times for dinner with the Austrian representative at the Court of Auditors, Helga Berger, one of which was accompanied by his current partner, Susanne Riess-Passer, the previous one Vice Chancellor of the black and blue government Schüssel I. Berger booked the bills to the audit office.
Hahn’s office stated, according to “Standard”, that these meetings are “part of the regular exchange that the Commissioner has with representatives of institutions / organizations that are related to activities within the scope of his portfolio”. Representatives from other institutions also took part. An entry in the transparency register was not necessary.