Politics free from conflicts of interest


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.


But the EU ethics rules are very fragmented and poorly enforced. As a result, there have been multiple cases of unethical behaviours in recent years and their insufficient handling by the EU institutions has harmed the trust of European citizens.

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This is why we believe that we need a single and independent EU ethics body that has the authority to check, control and punish conflicts of interest and unethical behaviour.

We already achieved the first success when the new EU Commission promised to support its creation, so now we need to make sure that the ethics authority would actually have strong powers. Greens/EFA MEP Daniel Freund is the rapporteur appointed by the European Parliament, and he will be in charge of finding an agreement with the EU Commission and Member State governments on what the new ethics body should look like.


How should the new EU ethics body work? Key principles


  • Independent: the independence of a new body will guarantee strong and fair application of the existing rules
  • Strong Competence: to monitor the implementation of applicable ethics standards, to have advisory, investigative and enforcement powers including the right to start its own investigations and the ability to sanction wrong-doing
  • Wide Coverage: Commissioners, Members of the Parliament and all the staff covered by the staff regulation working for the relevant participating institutions should be under the scope of the ethics body
  • Balanced Composition: there should be a college of 9 members, among which 3 shall be chosen by the EU Commission, 3 elected by the EU Parliament, 3 members from former presidents of the European Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors and the EU Ombudsman
  • Legal Basis: We want to start at least with the EU Parliament and the Commission and make it open to all institutions, agencies and bodies willing to join at any point in time. Legally, this should be done through an inter-institutional agreement between the participating institutions (based on Article 295 TFEU).


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European Parliament Strasbourg
Press release |

EU Ethics Body essential to build trust in EU institutions

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 doo…
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Press release |

Parliament vote on Andrej Babiš shows conflict of interest threat to EU decision making

MEPs will vote on the conflict of interest of the Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš. The vote, which was called for by the Greens/EFA Group, calls for action from both the Commission and Council on the on-going conflict of interest surrounding the Czech Prime Minister and his Agrofert group of companies.
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Video |

The EU Ethics Body

This is why you need to join our campaign for politics free from conflicts of interest: In the EU, we have ethical standards that ahead of national and regional rules in the Member States.
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Budget © nobiggie
Press release |

EU Budget: Lack of transparency around agricultural spending & conflicts of interest damage confidence in EU decision making

This week, MEPs are voting on 52 separate 'discharge reports' on the various EU institutions and agencies for 2019. The Discharge procedure is a chance to examine EU spending and verify whether the EU budget has been used efficiently and legally. The votes on the Discharge reports come days after the Commission released its long awaited a…
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Corporate Building Sunset
Event |

What did Canada and France do to fix their lobbying problem?

To protect the EU institutions from corruption, untransparent lobbying and the revolving door, some of the world’s strongest rules are in place. Credible transparency rules are important to preserve the trust of citizens in European political decisions. But we have to address the weaknesses in...
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Event |

For an independent EU ethics body common to all EU institutions

The EU institutions have some of the best ethics rules for lobby transparency, for Commissioners and staff to cool-off before taking the revolving door into a lobby job and against other conflicts of interest. Yet, the implementation of these rules can be improved. The new EU Commission said it i...
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Study |

An EU ethics body

The European Union’s ethical framework governing the conduct of its staff and members appears more comprehensive than in most Member States. Yet, over the past years, multiple cases of unethical behaviour in the EU institutions have revealed significant systemic shortcomings, notably in the framework’s current implementation.
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© markus-spiske
News |

The EU ethics body

The EU institutions have some of the best ethics rules for lobby transparency and against conflicts of interest including revolving doors. Yet, the implementation of these rules is fragmented and politicised.
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Andrej Babiš © Martin Strachoň (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Andrej Babiš
Press release |

Conflicts of interest - Commission letter on Andrej Babiš leaked

According to a leaked letter in Czech media, the European Commission has reiterated its position that the Prime Minister of Czech Republic, Andrej Babiš, is in conflict of interest between his role as PM and his business dealings.

The EU Ethics Body

This is why you need to join our campaign for politics free from conflicts of interest: In the EU, we have ethical standards that ahead of national and regional rules in the Member States.