The new body will set standards of conduct for all EU institutions whose public image has been tarnished by the scandal
The European Union today proposed a new ethics body that would set standards of conduct for all EU institutions whose public image has been tarnished by the Qatargate scandal, which was revealed late last year in the European Parliament.
The creation of an ethics body became more urgent after Belgium accused MEPs and others connected to the European Parliament of receiving cash from World Cup host Qatar in an attempt to influence the decisions of the EU legislature. The Gulf state in question denies this.
The new body, with representatives from the institutions and five independent experts, will seek to agree common specifications before the June 2024 European elections.
“Democracy can only flourish when citizens trust their institutions. People across Europe do not distinguish whether a scandal happened in one institution or another,” European Commission Vice President Viera Jourova said in a statement.
In a poll on Tuesday, 60% of EU citizens said they were not satisfied with the EU’s efforts to fight corruption in general – an increase of 12 percentage points since mid-2019.
The rules will apply to more than 1,000 EU jobs, including those on the board of the European Central Bank, judges at the Court of Justice of the European Union and MEPs.
The new body will not conduct investigations, as some have wanted, but will set standards for accepting gifts, hospitality or travel, meeting with lobbyists and financial interests and conditions for officials’ post-term activities.
The standards are not intended to relax stricter guidelines, such as those concerning the financial interests of senior European Central Bank officials.
They may tighten rules for MEPs, who now do not have to declare travel and other gifts or expenses paid for by third parties.
Each institution will likely need to update current procedures to deal with breaches, with the ethics body monitoring compliance and promoting transparency.
With a wealth of experience honed over 4+ years in journalism, I bring a seasoned voice to the world of news. Currently, I work as a freelance writer and editor, always seeking new opportunities to tell compelling stories in the field of world news.