The European Parliament has adopted a new code of conduct for its members. The Code lays down rules and principles, which the parliamentarians have to keep dealing with external contacts in order to avoid conflicts of interest.The guiding principle of the Code is transparency. MPs will also be required to disclose their paid jobs and their remuneration outside of parliament, and other features that might constitute a conflict of interest, in unambiguous statements. The Code also includes an explicit ban, payment or consideration for the influence to take on parliamentary decisions. There are clear rules for the acceptance of gifts and the position of former Members who work as lobbyists.
The main provisions are:
Financial Statement: MPs need to specify any professional activity; they have performed in the three years before their election to Parliament. This is valid also for each board member of a company, an NGO, and / or post at interest groups during the same period as and at the present time.Any paid activities that are at the office, /even on an occasional basis, exercised, including technical advisory services in oral or written/, must be published, if the earnings exceed € 5,000 per year. Financial support of any kind and financial interests that could cause a conflict of interest must also be disclosed. Any amendment to the declaration must be reported within 30 days. In the case of non-compliance with the MPs lose their right to hold office in Parliament.
Gifts: All gifts or benefits worth more than 150 €, the deputies obtained during the course of their duties, must be rejected, or if Parliament is officially represented, will be forwarded to the President of Parliament. Reimbursement of direct expenses is not considered a gift; the MEP attended each event following an official invitation.
Sanctions: Any violation of the Code, a decision of the President after consultation with the Advisory Committee constituted under the new code, separate MEP may be sanctioned. It comes to a reprimand, forfeiture, deprivation of daily compensation for up to ten days suspension from participation in the parliament (without losing the right to vote) for up to 10 days, and withdrawal of the status of rapporteur or other official function in the EP.