De Jong welcomes adoption of stricter code of conduct for MEPs

1 December 2011

De Jong welcomes adoption of stricter code of conduct for MEPs

The European Parliament today voted definitively to approve a stricter code of conduct for Members. The code of conduct establishes tighter rules governing relations between lobbyists and Euro-MPs and is a consequence of a bribery scandal which hit the Parliament earlier this year. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong was one of the eight authors of the new code of conduct. I’m pleased with the result,’ he says. ‘This is an important step in putting a stop to bribery of Euro-MPs.’

The code of conduct establishes that gifts accepted by MEPs must not exceed €150 in value. De Jong would have preferred to see a ceiling of €50 but says that he can live with this compromise. In addition, Members must henceforth be open about any paid work which they perform on top of their tasks in the Parliament. “On these important points rules have now been established, but there remain a great many things which could be improved,” says De Jong. “That’s why next week I’ll be taking the initiative in drawing up a voluntary declaration which Members can sign in which they commit themselves to writing a ‘legislative footprint’. This would record which lobbyists had sought to contact them or supplied them with information regarding legislative proposals. As things stand the outside world is left in the dark as regards the lobbying that surrounds the development and adoption of such proposals.”

The tighter code of conduct was drawn up by eight Euro-MPs who came together under the chairmanship of European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek. The working party was set up at the end of March and by June had distributed its proposals. These were officially adopted by the Parliament today. What prompted the establishment of the working party was a lobbying scandal: at the beginning of March journalists from the British newspaper The Sunday Times, posing as lobbyists, offered large sums of money to a number of Euro-MPs in return for which they agreed to propose certain items of legislation.

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