Brussels, 20th March 2011
In the light of the most recent scandal involving MEPs who are reported having accepted secret payments to alter law or having indicated their willingness to do so, Transparency International (TI) supports a full official investigation of the allegations. TI also calls for a fully-fledged and robust code of conduct for MEPs that goes beyond the current provisions of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (in particular Art. 9 and Annex I).
This fully fledged code of conduct should include in particular:
- Ethical standards on conflicts of interests
- Detailed and up-to-date reporting requirements, e.g. on organisational memberships and direct or indirect financial interests of MEPs
- The obligation to publish a legislative footprint for reports and amendments tabled
- Special requirements for MEPs who are selected as rapporteurs and shadow-rapporteurs
The code of conduct should be accompanied with a robust supervision and enforcement mechanism. Without such credible measures preventing conflicts of interests and corruption at the EU level, institutions such as the Parliament risk the undermining of European democracy and further loss of trust of EU citizens in their work.
TI Liaison Office to the EU
Phone: +32 (0)2 23 58 621
Email: jmittermaier @ transparency.org
Transparency International Romania draws attention that the American-type lobby activities are forbidden in the light of the conventions and recommendations of the Council of Europe, being assimilated to trading in influence.
We also underline that initiatives such as European Transparency Initiative, which provide mechanisms for enhancing the transparency of the EU decision making process should not be abandoned since they offer the necessary tools for avoiding the perverted effects of this type of activity (i.e. registers, reporting).
Furthermore, since the specialised commissions of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies are currently discussing the draft law regarding the organization of the lobby activity (Pl-x nr. 581/2010), Transparency International Romania considers the events within the European Parliament a new argument for rejecting this kind of initiative. The Law on decisional transparency (52/2003) guarantees the participation of all stakeholders to the decision making process. The enforcement of this kind of instrument should be encouraged, and not a regulatory framework that could impede fair competition and affect the fight against corruption through the legalization of trading in influence.