De Jong wants debate on undermining of MEPs’ Code of Conduct

3 June 2012

De Jong wants debate on undermining of MEPs’ Code of Conduct

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong rejects what he calls ‘sabotage’ of the recently tightened-up Code of Conduct for Members of the European Parliament by the body’s president and vice-presidents. The Code of Conduct was established following a lobbying scandal last year. Dennis de Jong was one of eight proposers of the new rules which, amongst other things, fix a maximum value for gifts and demand more openness regarding secondary services provided by Members, as well as the acceptance of free trips. ‘Now the Bureau, the top management body of the Parliament, is sticking a knife into the new code, making the rules more flexible, entirely on its own initiative. I want an urgent debate in order to reverse this decision.’

The Bureau of the European Parliament is made up of the president and vice-presidents, who are representatives of most of the political groups. It takes decisions regarding the agenda and organization of the Parliament. According to the Bureau’s decision, the rules for making trips paid for by outside parties (such as lobbyists) public have been made more flexible. ‘In our proposal every journey taken by a Euro-MP at the expense of a third party must be made public. Now this will only be the case if flights are business class and the hotel room costs more than €300 per night.’

Earlier this week De Jong announced that in June, together with the NGO Transparency International, he would be bringing forward proposals for a more thorough, voluntary Code of Conduct to supplement the existing obligatory Code. With this initiative he hopes to put pressure on the EP Bureau to act. The Bureau’s decision comes in the same week that a group of postgraduate students at the Free University of Amsterdam published a study which also criticised the way in which MEPs fail to make their meetings with lobbyists public.

You are here