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New code of conduct for MEPs approved

December 6, 2011 4:27 PM

A new code of conduct for MEPs was endorsed by the European Parliament on Thursday by a staggering 619 votes in favour to just two against. The code sets out rules and principles which MEPs will need to follow in their contacts with outside interests so as to avoid conflicts of interest.

Diana, who as the Vice President of the Parliament responsible for transparency issues served on the initial Working Group set up by the President of the Parliament, said:

"I am delighted this new, first-ever code of conduct for MEPs has been so overwhelmingly endorsed. It will act as a strong shield against unethical behaviour and a major improvement on the present status quo.

Earlier in 2011 the Sunday Times published an expose on the conduct of four MEPs apparently caught on tape accepting 'cash for amendments' from journalists posing as lobbyists.

Diana continued: "While undoubtedly the Sunday Times story acted as a spur to our work it was also clear there was a real appetite for Members to set high standards."

The code's guiding principle is transparency. MEPs will have to provide clear declarations of their paid activities outside Parliament and their remuneration, as well as of any other functions which might constitute a conflict of interest.

The code also contains an explicit ban on receiving payments or other rewards in exchange for influencing parliamentary decisions. There are clear rules on the acceptance of gifts and on the position of former MEPs working as lobbyists.

Diana with the President (EP)

Pic shows Diana with the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek