Stricter Code of Conduct for MEPs

29 June 2011

Stricter Code of Conduct for MEPs

The European Parliament has reached agreement on a new Code of Conduct for Members. The new rules mean that MEPs will not be allowed to accept gifts worth more than €150, while any paid employment beyond their parliamentary duties must be made public. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong says that he is ‘reasonably happy’ with the result.

Dennis de Jong

De Jong would have preferred a more stringent agreement which incorporated, amongst other things, rules on what kind of additional jobs MEPs are allowed to have. He had also hoped to see an experimental trial of a ‘legislative footprint’ system, under which Members would be obliged to keep a record of which lobbyists they had had contact with in regard to each legislative proposal. Under the proposal as adopted, the ‘legislative footprint’ will be entirely voluntary.

The new Code of Conduct was agreed on Wednesday at a meeting of a working group under the chairmanship of European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek. De Jong was one of the eight members of this body, on which were represented all of the EP’s political groups. Although the new system must be approved by the EP as a whole, the fact that it was supported by every group suggests that this will be a formality. The working group was established in the wake of a lobbying scandal: at the end of March journalists from the British newspaper the Sunday Times, claiming to be lobbyists, offered a number of MEPs a large sum of money in exchange for supporting certain legislative proposals, and had their offers accepted.

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