Former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes lobbied Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to meet then-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick during her cooling-off period as a commissioner in 2015, documents reveal.
Kroes sent a text to Rutte in August 2015 to push for a meeting between Rutte and Kalanick, whom she had just met herself. “Had a fascinating meeting with the founder of Uber. Could be my grandson. He reminds me of [Apple founder] Steve Jobs when I visited him at home. You should meet him,” the text reads. She adds that “Travis” could fly in the week thereafter.
The text is included in a large batch of documents disclosed Thursday by the Dutch government, at the request of Dutch lawmakers, following last summer’s Uber Files investigation.
In media reports based on leaked internal Uber documents, it was claimed that Kroes spoke to Dutch Cabinet members and offered to set up meetings with EU officials during her cooling-off period as a commissioner, running from November 2014 to May 2016. Kroes served two stints as a commissioner between 2004 and 2014.
In May 2016, after her cooling-off period ended, Kroes joined Uber’s public policy advisory board.
The reveal of the documents sparked criticism from multiple lawmakers. The S&D’s Paul Tang said it’s “not the first time that she breaches the rules.”
“Let us apply the rules strictly and reduce her EU pension,” Tang tweeted.
In follow-up emails, Rutte’s advisers agreed that a visit with Kalanick was not suitable at the moment, given ongoing “conversations” with other ministries, and infraction procedures of Dutch transport authorities in 2015. Rutte finally met with Kalanick in February 2016, during a trip to Silicon Valley.
Kroes’ alleged lobbying behavior is being investigated by the EU’s anti-fraud agency OLAF.
Soon after the Uber Files revelations, the Commission also wrote to Kroes seeking “clarification on the information presented in the media.” Quizzed by European lawmakers, the Commission has repeatedly said it is “looking into the matter.”
Hanne Cokelaere contributed reporting.
The post Neelie Kroes pushed for meeting between Uber CEO, Dutch PM during cooling-off period appeared first on Politico.