Friday

20th Sep 2019

EU parliament reconsiders code of conduct loophole

  • European Parliament reviews code of conduct loophole on hotel and transport for MEPs paid by lobbyists (Photo: wikipedia)

The European Parliament on Wednesday (27 June) reverted a controversial decision on the code of conduct for MEPs.

The loophole enabled lobbyists to fund MEPs' non-business-class flights and to pay for hotel accommodation of up to €300 a day without disclosure.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

But EU parliament president Martin Schulz told his administrative chiefs (quaestors) on Wednesday evening to come up with a different plan.

The administrators, which deal with the internal affairs of MEPs, had originally advised the European Parliament in April to insert the €300 threshold into the code.

The parliament's bureau (vice-presidents and the president) agreed and adopted the threshold, but the decision caused uproar among a number of MEPs from the centre-left and left as well as pro-transparency groups and NGOs.

Several MEPs, including Luxembourgish Green MEP Claude Turmes and Dutch left-wing MEP Dennis de Jong, told this website on 19 June they would attempt to place the code into next week's parliament session in Strasbourg.

But parliamentary rules of procedure prevented them from even getting the issue onto the Strasbourg agenda.

An assistant for De Jong told EUobserver that Wednesday's decision was a welcome surprise. Left wing German MEP Gabrielle Zimmer also praised Schulz's move.

The administrators will now have to review their original proposal and present a new version to the bureau.

Several MEPs have already announced they would attempt to call for a debate about the changes being proposed to the code of conduct in a future plenary agenda should the administrators refuse to budge.

The code of conduct was adopted in December 2011 following a series of MEP scandals involving Austria's Ernst Strasser, Romania's Adrian Severin and Zoran Thaler of Slovenia.

All three had accepted offers of up to €100,000 per year in exchange for tabling amendments on legislation in the EU assembly.

MEPs challenge code of conduct loophole

A new code of conduct for MEPs lets them hide hospitality if it involves non-business-class flights and hotel rooms costing less than €300 a day.

The new European Commission: what's next?

Informal interviews with von der Leyen, hearings with parliamentary committees, and votes in the EU parliament and Council await the 26 candidates.

Investigation

US billionaires funding EU culture war

Conservative US billionaires, some with links to Trump, are paying anti-abortion lobbyists in Europe tens of millions of dollars to shape policy and law.

News in Brief

  1. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  2. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  3. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  4. Germany takes carbon border tax on board
  5. Austria to veto EU trade deal with South America
  6. Brexit minister asks EU for 'flexibility' to secure a deal
  7. Kovesi has 'sufficient majority' for prosecutor post
  8. France, Finland give UK ultimatum for Brexit plan

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  2. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  3. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  4. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  5. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  6. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  7. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants
  8. Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us