ALTER EU Briefing on the Code of Conduct for Lobbyists
Brussels, 18 April 2013 – As part of the two-year revision of the EU’s transparency register, Access Info and ALTER EU have called for a strengthening of the Code of Conduct for Lobbyists, which applies to all those listed in the register.
The Code of Conduct for lobbyists, in its current form, is weak and vaguely worded. The cash-for-influence tobacco lobby scandal that led to the resignation of ex-Health and Consumer Affairs Commissioner, John Dalli, demonstrated that there is nothing in the Code of Conduct for lobbyists which does not allow the employment of unregistered lobbyists.
Secondly, the Code of Conduct for lobbyists needs to be revised in light of the new Code of Conduct for MEPs, which was introduced on January 1st 2012. The MEP Code of Conduct was introduced after the Joint Transparency Register came into being (June 2011) and therefore the lobbyist Code of Conduct must be updated in order to be compatible with this.
We are therefore calling for the following improvements to be made to the Code of Conduct for Lobbyists:
- Interest Representatives should respect a cooling-off period before hiring high-level public officials;
- Lobbyists must not employ or pay MEPs or their assistants;
- Clarity is needed over the definition of “inappropriate behaviour”;
- Open discussion about cash-for-access/influence scandals;
- Better monitoring and enforcement.
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