Strong code is only way to regain trust

Publication date: 
jeudi, December 29, 2011
Natacha Cingotti
Media title: 
New Europe

On 1 December, MEPs will vote on the proposed MEPs' Code of Conduct, following its approval by the Constitutional Affairs Committee. Under the proposed rules, MEPs would not be allowed to receive money in order to lobby their colleagues and they would have to declare their outside financial interests in a strict way.


Hopefully, the dark days of unethical lobbying in the Parliament are behind us.

However, an important loophole on the definition of gifts remains and, if approved in plenary, it is likely to weaken the rest of the progressive proposals. In the current text, MEPs are not allowed to receive gifts of more than €150, but the reimbursement of direct costs is excluded from this definition.

Thus, they can continue to accept travel and hospitality paid by corporate lobby groups. It is exactly these kind of costs, which can include invitations to conferences in exotic locations and exclusive trips paid by rich industrialists, that have raised strong questions about corruption in the past.