26th Oct 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

EU myth-busters set for budget upgrade

One year after its launch, East Stratcom, the EU’s “tiny” counter-propaganda cell, has created a 20,000-strong following and could get a €1 million budget.

News in Brief

  1. Report: EU to rule on Gazprom pipeline link
  2. France registers biggest fall in unemployment for 20 years
  3. May feared businesses would leave the UK over Brexit
  4. US judge approves deal to buy back dirty VW diesel cars
  5. MEPs lift Jean-Marie Le Pen immunity
  6. Norway agrees to host 330 US soldiers
  7. Eurozone fund agrees €2.8bn Greece payment
  8. French shift 2,300 from Calais migrant camp

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  7. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  8. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  9. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  10. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  11. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersFish Skin on Bare Skin: Turning Fish Waste into Sustainable Fashion