New breach of rules shows need for tighter Code of Conduct for Euro-MPs

13 October 2011

New breach of rules shows need for tighter Code of Conduct for Euro-MPs

This week it was discovered that two Czech Euro-MPs have breached the integrity rules of the European Parliament by failing to disclose their ownership of shares in a certain business. The firm in question, eHealth International, makes electronic patient files, and the two MEPs have in recent years been involved in EU regulation affecting this sector. Dennis de Jong, SP Member of the European Parliament, says that ‘this is the umpteenth incident that demonstrates that a new Code of Conduct for MEPs cannot be delayed a moment longer.’

Dennis de Jong

De Jong was one of eight MEPs who earlier in the year proposed a new Code of Conduct. This came in the wake of a lobbying scandal in which a number of MEPs allowed themselves to be bribed by people who turned out to be undercover journalists. In the present case, the Czech Euro-MPs’ failure to declare an interest breached the European Parliament’s existing integrity rules, but as things stand no action can be taken against the MEPs. “It’s precisely for that reason that we can’t afford to dawdle any longer when it comes to the new Code of Conduct,” says De Jong. “This would enable us, for example, to deny the members the right to speak on these dossiers, as well as fining them.”

The Code of Conduct is currently being debated at committee level in the European Parliament and is expected to come into official force at the end of the year.

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