Cut out conflicts of interest

Publication date: 
jeudi, July 7, 2011
Vicky Cann
Media title: 
European Voice

it remains to be seen whether future presidents of the Parliament and the new MEP advisory committee – with whom enforcement of the new code will rest – will be prepared to get tough on fellow MEPs who fail to comply with the spirit and letter of the new rules.


The new code makes progress in several areas:

  • MEPs will no longer be able to accept expensive gifts,
  • they will have to make more detailed financial declarations (a surprisingly tense area of negotiations),
  • and ex-MEPs will be banned from using their privileged access to the Parliament for lobbying purposes.

Crucially, MEPs are banned from receiving financial benefit for influencing or voting on legislation and MEPs are also asked to resolve conflicts of interest.
But as ever with such matters, the devil will be in the detail of implementation.

A robust interpretation would surely imply a ban on second jobs that involve lobbying and those that involve
representing the interests of others, such as acting as a lawyer or corporate board member.
Indeed, recent research by Corporate Europe Observatory (a steering committee member of ALTER-EU) shows that perhaps as many as one in seven MEPs have jobs that provoke conflicts of interest with their work as an MEP.

Snapshot original article (pdf):