ALTER-EU group analyses all 754 Declarations of Financial Interest of Members of the European Parliament: more than 10% found empty

Publication date: 
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Prepared by Muriel Treibich Contributions from Natacha Cingotti and Paul de Clerck Edited by Francesca Gater, and Rachel Tansey

New ethics rules in the European Parliament are not strict enough to ensure complete transparency on MEPs’ outside interests, and therefore prevent potential conflicts of interest, shows the first analysis of declarations made under the new MEP code of conduct. 

Friends of the Earth Europe report 

Executive summary / policy recommendations: 

Analysis of the declarations of interest of the 754 sitting MEPs found:

- Almost all MEPs submitted their declaration on time, and the two exceptions had justified reasons [4]

- 88 (12%) of the submitted declarations are empty

- 567 MEPs (75%) declare at least one occupation before taking office; 97 MEPs (13%) declare not having had an occupation prior to taking office and 88 MEPs (12%) left their declarations empty, therefore almost a quarter of MEPs do not declare any occupation prior to taking up their mandate

- 118 MEPs (16%) declare remunerated activity outside of their mandate but 19 out of them do not declare how much income they receive

- 387 MEPs (52%) declare memberships of boards or committees; of these 152 (39%) declare having more than three memberships.


To improve the accessibility and accuracy of the information submitted by MEPs, Friends of the Earth Europe recommends:

- Improvements to the system for the submission of declarations: the introduction of a central searchable online database for all declarations and a fixed deadline for updates, and the translation of declarations into at least one ‘procedural language’ of the European Commission, (English, French or German), in order to enable better access and scrutiny by citizens, journalists and other stakeholders

- A review by European Parliament President Schulz to assess potential conflicts of interest for MEPs that have outside financial interests

- The mandate of the advisory committee on the code of conduct should be extended to a proactive monitoring and investigative role. Clarifications about the current wording of the declaration’s questions are needed to avoid confusion over interpretation among MEPs.