In exercising their duties, Members of the European Parliament:
(a) are guided by and observe the following general principles of conduct: disinterest, integrity, openness, diligence, honesty,
(b) act solely in the public interest and refrain from obtaining or seeking to obtain any direct or indirect financial benefit or other reward.
Main duties of Members
In exercising their duties, Members of the European Parliament shall:
(a) not enter into any agreement to act or vote in the interest of any other legal or natural person that would compromise their voting freedom, as enshrined in Article 6 of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage and Article 2 of the Statute for Members of the European Parliament,
(b) not solicit, accept or receive any direct or indirect financial benefit or other reward in exchange for influencing, or voting on, legislation, motions for a resolution, written declarations or questions tabled in Parliament or any of its committees, and shall consciously seek to avoid any situation which might imply bribery or corruption.
Conflicts of interest
1. A conflict of interest exists where a Member of the European Parliament has a personal interest that could improperly influence the performance of his or her duties as a Member. A conflict of interest does not exist where a Member benefits only as a member of the general public or of a broad class of persons.
2. Any Member who finds that he or she has a conflict of interest shall immediately take the necessary steps to address it, in accordance with the principles and provisions of this Code of Conduct. If the Member is unable to resolve the conflict of interest, he or she shall report this to the President in writing. In cases of ambiguity, the Member may seek advice in confidence from the Advisory Committee on the Conduct of Members, established under Article 7.
3. Without prejudice to paragraph 2, Members shall disclose, before speaking or voting in plenary or in one of Parliament’s bodies, or if proposed as a rapporteur, any actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to the matter under consideration, where such conflict is not evident from the information declared pursuant to Article 4.
Such disclosure shall be made in writing or orally to the chair during the parliamentary proceedings in question.
Declaration by Members
1. For reasons of transparency, Members of the European Parliament shall be personally responsible for submitting a declaration of financial interests to the President by the end of the first part-session after elections to the European Parliament (or within 30 days of taking up office with the Parliament in the course of a parliamentary term), in accordance with a form to be adopted by the Bureau pursuant to Article 9. They shall notify the President of any changes that have an influence on their declaration within 30 days of each change occurring.
2. The declaration of financial interests shall contain the following information, which shall be provided in a precise manner:
(a) the Member’s occupation(s) during the three-year period before he or she took up office with the Parliament, and his or her membership during that period of any boards or committees of companies, nongovernmental organisations, associations or other bodies established in law,
(b) any salary which the Member receives for the exercise of a mandate in another parliament,
(c) any regular remunerated activity which the Member undertakes alongside the exercise of his or her office, whether as an employee or as a self-employed person,
(d) membership of any boards or committees of any companies, nongovernmental organisations, associations or other bodies established in law, or any other relevant outside activity that the Member undertakes, whether the membership or activity in question is remunerated or unremunerated,
(e) any occasional remunerated outside activity (including writing, lecturing or the provision of expert advice), if the total remuneration exceeds EUR 5 000 in a calendar year,
(f) any holding in any company or partnership, where there are potential public policy implications or where that holding gives the Member significant influence over the affairs of the body in question,
(g) any support, whether financial or in terms of staff or material, additional to that provided by Parliament and granted to the Member in connection with his or her political activities by third parties, whose identity shall be disclosed,
(h) any other financial interests which might influence the performance of the Member’s duties.
Any regular income Members receive in respect of each item declared in accordance with the first subparagraph shall be placed in one of the following categories:
– EUR 500 to EUR 1 000 a month;
– EUR 1 001 to EUR 5 000 a month;
– EUR 5 001 to EUR 10 000 a month;
– more than EUR 10 000 a month.
Any other income Members receive in respect of each item declared in accordance with the first subparagraph shall be calculated on an annual basis, divided by twelve and placed in one of the categories set out in the second subparagraph.
3. The information provided to the President in line with this Article shall be published on Parliament’s website in an easily accessible manner.
4. Members may not be elected as office-holders of Parliament or of one of its bodies, be appointed as a rapporteur or participate in an official delegation, if they have not submitted their declaration of financial interests.
Gifts or similar benefits
1. Members of the European Parliament shall refrain from accepting, in the performance of their duties, any gifts or similar benefits, other than those with an approximate value of less than EUR 150 given in accordance with courtesy usage or those given to them in accordance with courtesy usage when they are representing Parliament in an official capacity.
2. Any gifts presented to Members, in accordance with paragraph 1, when they are representing Parliament in an official capacity shall be handed over to the President and dealt with in accordance with implementing measures to be laid down by the Bureau pursuant to Article 9.
3. The provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 shall not apply to the reimbursement of travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses of Members, or to the direct payment of such expenses by third parties, when Members attend, pursuant to an invitation and in the performance of their duties, at any events organised by third parties.
The scope of this paragraph, in particular the rules designed to ensure transparency, shall be specified in the implementing measures to be laid down by the Bureau pursuant to Article 9.
Activities of former Members
Former Members of the European Parliament who engage in professional lobbying or representational activities directly linked to the European Union decision-making process may not, throughout the period in which they engage in those activities, benefit from the facilities granted to former Members under the rules laid down by the
Bureau to that effect 1.
Advisory Committee on the Conduct of Members
1. An Advisory Committee on the Conduct of Members (‘the Advisory Committee’) is hereby established.
2. The Advisory Committee shall be composed of five members, appointed by the President at the beginning of his or her term of office from amongst the members of the bureaux and the coordinators of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Legal Affairs, taking due account of the Members’ experience and of political balance.
Each member of the Advisory Committee shall serve as chair for six months on a rotating basis.
3. The President shall also, at the beginning of his or her term of office, nominate reserve members for the Advisory Committee, one for each political group not represented in the Advisory Committee.
In the event of an alleged breach of this Code of Conduct by a member of a political group not represented in the Advisory Committee, the relevant reserve member shall serve as a sixth full member of the Advisory Committee for the purposes of investigation of that alleged breach.
4. Upon request by a Member, the Advisory Committee shall give him or her, in confidence and within 30 calendar days, guidance on the interpretation and implementation of the provisions of this Code of Conduct. The Member in question shall be entitled to rely on such guidance.
At the request of the President, the Advisory Committee shall also assess alleged breaches of this Code of Conduct and advise the President on possible action to be taken.
5. The Advisory Committee may, after consulting the President, seek advice from outside experts.
6. The Advisory Committee shall publish an annual report of its work.
Procedure in the event of possible breaches of the Code of Conduct
1. Where there is reason to think that a Member of the European Parliament may have breached this Code of Conduct, the President may refer the matter to the Advisory Committee.
2. The Advisory Committee shall examine the circumstances of the alleged breach, and may hear the Member concerned. On the basis of the conclusions of its findings, it shall make a recommendation to the President on a possible decision.
3. If, taking into account that recommendation, the President concludes that the Member concerned has breached the Code of Conduct, he shall, after hearing the Member, adopt a reasoned decision laying down a penalty, which he shall notify to the Member.
The penalty may consist of one or more of the measures listed in Rule 153(3) of the Rules of Procedure.
4. The internal appeal procedures defined in Rule 154 of the Rules of Procedure shall be open to the Member concerned.
5. After the expiry of the time-limits laid down in Rule 154 of the Rules of the Procedure, any penalty imposed on a Member shall be announced by the President in plenary and prominently published on Parliament’s website for the remainder of the parliamentary term.
The Bureau shall lay down implementing measures for this Code of Conduct, including a monitoring procedure, and shall update the amounts referred to in Articles 4 and 5, when necessary.
It may bring forward proposals for revision of this Code of Conduct.
1Bureau Decision of 12 April 1999.