De Jong: 'Limit gifts to Euro-MPs'

6 October 2010

De Jong: 'Limit gifts to Euro-MPs'

As things stand the European Parliament has no rules restricting the acceptance of gifts by its members. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong therefore used the opportunity of a conference on transparency in lobbying this afternoon to urge the adoption of a code of conduct for MEPs. De Jong: ´A parliamentarian can at present accept a car or an all-expenses-paid jaunt without a word being said. I want to see a maximum value for presents introduced as soon as possible, of say €50, as well as obligatory on-line publication of any such gifts.'


The European Parliament and the European Commission have been negotiating for years regarding the joint registration of the more than 15,000 lobbyists who work in Brussels. A compulsory register seems still to be a bridge too far, but there is at least an agreement that only registered lobbyists can be issued with a permanent access card to the Parliament's buildings. Today's seminar in the European Parliament concerned the progress of these talks, in which the SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong is involved as a representative of the political group to which he is affiliated, the United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL).

Expert groups

In his speech De Jong also raised the question of the 'expert groups' used by the European Commission. In informal talks with the Commission, De Jong has proposed the setting-up of a new website on which all information regarding these expert groups would be accessible to the public. Many of the expert groups are currently dominated by experts from big corporations, while small and medium-sized businesses, as well as consumer groups, for example, get much less of a look in. De Jong: "these expert groups operate as things stand far too much in Brussels back rooms. Who's on them and to what extent they are regulated isn't clear. The Commission has at last given an assurance that it wants to offer more openness in relation to this matter, and that's a step in the right direction but there's still a long way to go."

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