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Politics free from conflicts of interest

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.

THE EU HAS STRONG ETHICS RULES

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 THEY AREN’T PROPERLY APPLIED

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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WE CAN FIX IT WITH AN INDEPENDENT AUTHORITY TO CHECK FOR CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

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.

OUR DEMANDS FOR AN EU ETHICS BODY WITH TEETH

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).

More

Video

Webinar on best Practices For An EU Ethics Body

Video

Watch our webinar with Daniel Freund (Greens/EFA)

Opinion

© European Union 2015 - Source EP

Time to guarantee ethics and integrity in the EU

POLICY

Read law professor Alberto Alemanno’s study

Policy

Read our Q&A to know all about the EU ethics body

Resource

Draft report for an independent Ethics body

Resource

Proposed amendments to the draft report