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European politicians agree to respect the same ethical rules – POLITICO

The friendly signing ceremony held Wednesday at the Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters belied bickering and resistance as co-legislators debated how much oversight they were willing to cede – fights that are unlikely to disappear in 2025, when the ethics body will undertake to publish basic standards. for political integrity.

The agreement is expected to enter into force on June 6, the first day of voting in the European elections, said Věra Jourová, Commission vice-president responsible for the file.

Under the deal, eight EU institutions – including the EU Parliament, Commission and Council – would nominate members to sit on the panel. Together, they would establish baseline standards on issues such as asset disclosure and accepting post-tenure jobs in the private sector. Five independent experts would also sit on the panel, and they could be called upon to help an institution evaluate potential conflicts of interest of officials. But the ethics body does not have the power to investigate individual cases and it cannot impose sanctions when behavior falls short of standards.

The agreement is “a strong, timely and common message to our citizens”, said Willem van de Voorde, Belgium’s top envoy to the EU, saying it would create a “common culture of ethical conduct” through the institutions.

Yet the EU Council has been reluctant to determine the extent to which national officials would be held to common standards while they hold the rotating Council presidency. And the presidency of the European Council – currently held by former Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel – has not joined the eight other institutions concerned.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, a staunch defender of the ethics body in the wake of Qatargate, acknowledged that the agreement is only a “starting point”. MEPs are sharply divided along partisan lines, with Metsola’s European People’s Party mounting strong and persistent objections to abandoning the independence of elected lawmakers to a bureaucratic panel.


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