EU Ethics Rules


The EU has often been criticised for being slow with regards to reforming its own transparency regime, and big steps forward are often precipitated by large corruption scandals that have had a negative impact on the credibility of the system. In recent years, several different initiatives in this area have been warmly welcomed but often piecemeal and slow to implement.


Clear codes and rules must be implemented with proactive transparency regarding their implementation and enforcement. This would include issues such as codes of conduct of officials, whistle-blowing channels, disclosure of financial interests, the acceptance of gifts and hospitality, investigation and prosecution, second jobs, revolving doors and a ‘legislative footprint’. It must be stated that the EU has introduced many of these measures but there is still much to be done.

TI EU Public Statements:

  • 18 April 2013: Important step to improve European Parliament integrity. Read more.
  • 6 December 2012: New whistleblowing guidelines for EU officials will help to fight corruption. Read more.
  • 29 November 2012: TI EU welcomes move to block “revolving door” between ECB and banks. Read more.
  • 8 November 2012: European Parliament should not backtrack on its Code of Conduct and transparency. Read more.
  • 17 October 2012: Recommendations on the Code of Conduct for Members of the European Parliament. Read more.
  • 16 October 2012: Statement on Commissioner Dalli’s resignation. Read more.
  • 1 December 2011: Code of Conduct adopted by European Parliament.  Read more.
  • 30 June 2011: Transparency International welcomes the new draft code of conduct for members of the European Parliament.  Read more.
  • 12 April 2011: European Parliament reform process needs to be swift and transparent to be credible, says Transparency International.  Read more.
  • 4 April 2011: Transparency International urges swift implementation of European Parliament reforms, in particular regarding second jobs of MEPs.  Read more.
  • 25 March 2011: Transparency International calls upon Belgian prosecutor to open investigation into ‘cash for amendments’ MEPs. Read more.
  • 20 March 2011: Transparency International calls for a full official investigation of allegations of MEPs ‘cash for amendments’.  Read more.
  • 12 May 2010: TI calls for closing of ethics gap in Code of Conduct for European Commissioners. Read more.

Written contributions to EC Consultations:

  • 30 March 2012: Transparency International Expert Input on the draft European Commission Communication on Whistleblowing (Word document)

Blogs posts specific to the campaign:

BBC Wise

We need to talk about MEPs’ expenses

Ethics in EU Institutions -

Over the years we have seen a number of MEPs getting into trouble over the use of their expenses. Former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Peter Skinner was sentenced to a four-year jail sentence for fraudulently claiming about €120,000 …

Posted 14 Oct 2016 No Comments

Tusk Orban

Tusk nudges the Council towards voting transparency*

Ethics in EU Institutions -

Photo credit: Flickr/European Council Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, is well-known for his anti-migrant rhetoric. However, The Budapest Beacon recently reported that Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, wrote an official letter to the opposition in Hungary stating that …

Posted 6 Oct 2016 No Comments

lobbying business men

Keep your head. Lobby responsibly.

Ethics in EU Institutions, EU Lobbying -

Responsible lobbying is in the interests of society at large, as well as the lobbyist themselves. Regulation can help ensure this, but more important is the buy-in of those who lobby. Below are some pointers to help companies limit the …

Posted 3 Oct 2016 No Comments

Read more:

  • Ethics in EU Institutions
  • news:

    • 16 October 2012: European Commission announces resignation of EU Commissioner Dalli


    • 13 November 2012: Ethics & Integrity in Parliaments – How to best implement Codes of Conducts? Read more.


    reference documents:


    • European Commission’s Transparency Portal (EU Transparency Register, Register of EU Commission expert grous etc.)

    Contact details

    Daniel Freund

    EU Policy Officer

    T: +32 (0)2 89 32 459