Cooling-off period: European Parliament adopts rules for lobbying for former MEPs
The bureau of the European Parliament has reached an agreement on new lobby rules for former MEPs. Former MEPs are not allowed to lobby in the European Parliament during the first six months after the end of their mandate. Granting access badges to the premises of the European Parliament for former MEPs will be linked to the compliance with this rule. This decision is a reaction to former MEP Antonio Panzeri who allegedly bribed the former Vice-President Eva Kaili.
In a report on the phenomenon of revolving doors published in 2017, Transparency International (TI) showed that 30 percent of former MEPs worked for companies listed in the lobby register after the end of their mandate. Hence, TI called for a cooling off period for MEPs. Now the European Parliament has started to introduce such a cooling off period in practice.
MEP Daniel Freund (Greens/EFA), rapporteur of the European Parliament for an independent EU Ethics Body, comments:
“The European Parliament has taken an important step by introducing lobbying rules that apply for the first time to former MEPs. Even though this set of rules will not prevent former MEPs from accepting a lobbying position, it makes the access to the premises of the European Parliament more difficult in a period of transition in which the risk of conflict of interest is the greatest.
What we Greens and myself at Transparency International have been demanding for years now is becoming a reality step by step. The cooling off period should last the time former MEPs are entitled to transitional allowances. It is crucial that this set of rules will be implemented and controlled independently. For that, we need an independent EU Ethics Body.”
2017 Transparency International Studie: https://transparency.eu/revolving-door-pr/
Metsola-Plan vom 11 Januar 2023 sah eine Abkühlzeit entsprechend des Anspruchs ehemaliger Abgeordneter auf Übergangsgeld (von 6 bis 24 Monate je nach Länge der Mitgliedschaft im Parlament) vor
Objective 1: A new revolving door policy
A ‘cooling-off’ period for former Members who wish to lobby Parliamentarians could be envisaged. This will be linked to the transitional allowance granted to former Members. For a period that former Members benefit from a transitional allowance they would not be allowed to be registered in the Transparency Register and therefore not able to lobby the institution they served immediately following the end of their mandate.
Metsola-Plan vom 08.02.2023 wie von der Konferenz der Fraktionsvorsitzenden beschlossen fordert nur noch eine 6-monatige Abkühlzeit
- A new revolving door policy
A ‘cooling-off’ period for former Members who wish to lobby the Parliament will be introduced.
For a period 6 months immediately following the end of their mandate, former Members will not be allowed to lobby the institution they served.
- Change to Art. 6 of the Code of Conduct for Members, in the framework of a revision of the CoC.
To be noted that the introduction of further reaching conditionalities would require an amendment to the Statute for Members, which implies a Commission’s opinion and consent by the Council.
- Bureau decision on former Members, covering:
- the introduction of a ‘cooling-off’ period and a declaration of commitment;
- rights and privileges;
- access to the EP;
- conditionality of IT account and access to intranet to the absence of lobbying activities within the scope of the Transparency Register or representative activities for third countries;
- modalities of participation in EP mediation and capacity building activities;
- consequences in the event of non compliance.
- Preparation of guidelines for TR interest representatives when employing former MEPs or EP staff;
- Farewell letters to outgoing MEPs to include reminder of applicable rules to former MEPs; Regular reminders should be sent;
- Administrative follow-up regarding the introduction of a declaration of commitment to the rules on former MEPs to be signed at the beginning of the term and published on the MEP profile.
The European Parliament has taken an important step by introducing lobbying rules that apply for the first time to former MEPs.