Stronger ethics regulation

ALTER-EU considers that many of the EU institutions require stronger ethics rules to prevent conflicts of interest and to ensure the highest standards of public office. We concentrate our efforts on the Commission and the Parliament.

For the European Commission, ALTER-EU demands major changes to the Code of Conduct for Commissioners including:

  • Strong definitions of 'lobbying' and conflicts of interest'

  • Far tougher revolving door rules

  • More detailed financial interest disclosure

  • Greater transparency about the enforcement of the code

  • The introduction of sanctions for when the rules are breached

  • A fully independent ethics committee to monitor and enforce the code

For the European Parliament, ALTER-EU demands a far tougher Code of Conduct for MEPs which includes the following:

  • Ban MEPs from advising or providing other lobby services to companies influencing the European Parliament
  • Ensure that the Code of Conduct includes measures to tackle and prevent possible conflicts of interests when they occur

  • Better define a conflict of interest

  • Tighten disclosure requirements for outside financial interests

  • Reform and extend the mandate of the advisory committee

  • Augment the existing remedies and/ or sanctions and ensure these are being applied when conflicts of interest occur

  • Prevent attempts of policy capture of individual members in their duties

  • Acknowledge that the risks of MEPs going through the revolving door when leaving office are real

  • Tighten guidelines in relation to gifts and hospitality funded by third parties

  • Address the lack of transparency rules for European Parliament cross-party groups

You can read the detail of our proposed MEP Code of Conduct reforms here.

You can read our guide to ethics for MEPs here.

Damning Barrosogate critique by EU Ombudsman demands immediate action from Commission

Publication date: 
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Press release issued by: 
The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU)

ALTER-EU's reaction to the final ruling of the European Ombudsman regarding the European Commission's handling of former President Barroso's employment at Goldman Sachs.


EU Commission confirms Barroso lobbies for Goldman Sachs, must re-assess case

Publication date: 
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Press release issued by: 
The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU)

VP Jyrki Katainen confirmed he had a lobby meeting with ex-Commission President Barroso who represented investment bank Goldman Sachs International. We ask the European Commission to re-assess Barroso's job.


Reformed ethics rules lack bite

Reformed ethics rules for European Parliamentarians lack bite, and will not do enough to build trust in European institutions, according to transparency campaigners. Reforms to the code of conduct for Members of European Parliament (MEP), voted in today, improve some voluntary transparency measures, but fail to include an explicit ban on controversial second jobs for MEPs in organisations that lobby the European Institutions.

Publication date: 
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ALTER-EU demands effective reform of the Code of Conduct

Publication date: 
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

ALTER-EU urges European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, to implement effective reforms to the Code of Conduct for commissioners to prevent further ethics scandals.

Download full document as pdf: 
Document types: 

EU Politicians Slammed for Second Jobs, 'Revolving Doors', Lack of Ethics

Publication date: 
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Media title: 
sputnik news

In spite of the recent "revolving doors" scandal involving former EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, MEPs are still able to have second jobs, claiming that restrictions on their outside employment would be a "violation" of their fundamental rights, EU politicians have said.

Le code de bonne conduite européen ridiculisé par l’affaire Barroso

Publication date: 
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Mathilde Régis
Media title: 
Le Lanceur

Le recrutement de José Manuel Barroso par une banque largement impliquée dans la crise grecque ne constitue pas une infraction pour le comité d’éthique de l’Union européenne. L’ex-président de la Commission peut, selon le code de “bonne conduite” des commissaires européens, faire pression et défendre la cause” de la banque d’investissement américaine Goldman Sachs auprès des membres de la Commission et de leur personnel”, dès lors que le délai de 18 mois inscrit dans ce code est respecté. Sur cette affaire, Jean-Claude Juncker, actuel président de la Commission, est attendu au tournant.


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