SP welcomes about-turn on code of conduct for Euro-MPs

28 June 2012

SP welcomes about-turn on code of conduct for Euro-MPs

Yesterday evening the European Parliament’s principle body for internal decision-making, the Conference of Presidents, took the decision to reverse recent moves to dilute the code of conduct for Euro-MPs. The Conference of Presidents brings together the elected chairs of every political group in the European Parliament and its decision means that the debate requested by the SP for next week’s Strasbourg plenary will no longer be needed. ‘I’m very happy with this,’ says SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. ‘It’s clear that the weakening of the European Parliament Code of Conduct which would have meant, for example, that no record need be kept of travel costs paid for by lobbyists, is now rejected. MEPs will simply have to be open about who pays for their trips.’

The new code of conduct was installed last year in the wake of a bribery scandal in the European Parliament. De Jong was one of eight MEPs who drew up the new regulations, which include a ban on Members accepting presents from lobbyists to a value of more than €150. A number of other details, for example the exact rules covering trips paid for by third parties, remain to be worked out by the ‘Quaestors’, MEPs elected by their colleagues to be responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the Parliament. ‘It was clear that this old boys’ network was not intending to insist on more openness,’ says De Jong. ‘The threat of a debate in which the Quaestors would have been forced into a corner put the decision under pressure and when anything comes under pressure it becomes fluid.’

The reversal of the dilution of the rules on travel will be far from the end of the debate on the code of conduct. The Quaestors must now go back to the text of the proposal. And other details in the new code of conduct need filling in. ‘Yesterday’s guilty verdict in the case of a former EU official prosecuted for bribery can only serve as an incentive to complete the code of conduct as quickly as possible,’ says De Jong. ‘I shall be following this very closely until every detail of the code is satisfactory and in place.’

You are here