The President of the European Parliament made the following remarks on the conclusion of the Working Group on the Code of Conduct for Members of the European Parliament.
European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said:
"This crucial work has been carried out in record time: in just ten weeks we have come forward with comprehensive proposals on the European Parliament's first ever Code of Conduct for Members.
The Lisbon Treaty has given the European Parliament greater powers and this must be accompanied by increased responsibility and transparency. The conclusions of the working group are a significant improvement to the status quo.
The clearer rules are aimed to remove any doubts on how elected Members of the European Parliament should fulfil their obligations. They are designed to boost confidence among citizens in our institution.
The proposal results from an intensive and sometimes difficult debate among all political groups in the European Parliament.
We examined Codes of Conduct of several national parliaments and we have come forward with strong proposals. They set out strict rules on the banning of bribery and conflicts of interests. They envisage much more detailed declarations of income. The proposed rules strengthen procedures and sanctions for breaches of the new Code of Conduct and map out rules for former MEPs.
Furthermore, I welcome the important proposal to establish an Advisory Committee on the Conduct of Members. It would give guidance to Members for the interpretations and implementation of the Code of Conduct and may seek advice from outside experts.
As to the conclusions on Members' contacts with outside interests, we have already made substantial progress by establishing a joint European Parliament European Commission lobby register. It sends a positive signal confirming our determination to instil transparent and ethical practices at the European level. We welcome the Council's intention to negotiate to join this register.
I strongly welcome the intention to make the existing Joint Code of Conduct and Transparency Register legally binding.
I pay tribute to the other Members of the Working Group for intensive and constructive cooperation. I would also like to thank representatives of civil society and other outside interests groups for their valuable contribution made during the meetings of the Working Group.
Note to Editors:
The proposals will now be submitted to the Conference of Presidents (President + political group leaders) and the Bureau, (President, 14 Vice-Presidents and Quaestors) for approval. The Constitutional Affairs Committee will subsequently look at what changes to the Parliament's Rules of Procedure are required.
Parliament's Working Group on Codes of Conduct for MEPs - background
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