EU Ethics Body essential to build trust in EU institutions
Tomorrow (16 September), the European Parliament will vote on the report "Strengthening transparency and integrity in the EU institutions by setting up an independent EU ethics body," from Greens/EFA MEP Daniel Freund. The report calls for the establishment of a single independent ethics body that would help tackle and prevent conflicts of interest, revolving doors and corruption inside the EU institutions. The report calls on the Commission to draft an inter-institutional agreement on the setting up of an EU ethics body.
Daniel Freund MEP, Greens/EFA rapporteur and Member of the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO), comments:
"The EU's ethics system must be built on a solid foundations if we are to build trust in the European project. The current set up of self-regulation has failed to stop the numerous recent cases of conflicts of interest and revolving doors. It's clear that we urgently need an independent body to oversee ethics issues inside the EU institutions. EU officials must be accountable to the public. An independent EU ethics body will improve the EU's credibility in the eyes of the public and prevent scandals which have plagued Europe's institutions for too long.
"This is our chance to win back the trust that has been eroded through the current fragmented and poorly enforced rules. Officials working in the European institutions must be held to the highest standards in order to ensure democracy and transparency. All MEPs who support greater democratic accountability should support this report."
Multiple ex-Commissioners and former high-ranking Commission officials have become lobbyists to work on the same issues for private interests. MEPs have violated the Code of Conduct 27 times without a single fine to be paid. In theory, the EU institutions have some of the best ethics rules to prevent conflicts of interest, including restrictions on Commissioners and EU staff passing through the “revolving door” and taking on lobby jobs after leaving public office and rules to ensure lobbying transparency. However, EU ethics rules are fragmented and poorly enforced.