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Despite EPP voting against more transparency, MEPs support ambitious rule changes for Parliament


07 Sep 2023


Global Europe
Despite strong resistance from the conservative EPP Group, Members of the constitutional affairs committee (AFCO) have voted to amend the European Parliament’s rules governing its Members' conduct.
Throughout the process, the Socialists and Democrats have fought for meaningful and ambitious changes to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure with a view to strengthening integrity, independence and accountability.
In a bid to secure as much support as possible among the political groups, as rapporteur S&D AFCO Vice-Chair Gaby Bischoff sought a compromise agreement on the draft report in July. In today’s vote on the draft report, Members also voted on amendments. A number of these amendments, signed by Gaby Bischoff and other S&D MEPs, will make the changes to the Rules of Procedure even stronger and more effective in improving transparency.
The amendments supported by the S&D Group in today’s vote include:
  • A mandatory declaration of possible conflict of interests for Chairs, EP Vice-Presidents, Rapporteurs, Shadow rapporteurs and members of official delegations;
  • A mandatory declaration of assets and  liabilities at the beginning and end of every term of office;
  • An obligation on all Members to publish all meetings related to parliamentary business online;
  • Strengthening the role and composition of the Advisory Committee on the Conduct of Members -
    • By adding 3 external experts with personal integrity and experience in professional ethics to the Advisory Committee alongside the 5 MEPs;
    • By giving the Advisory Committee the authority to proactively monitor compliance by Members with the Code of Conduct.
Despite the EPP voting with the far right to prevent these measures from becoming a reality, today’s amendments received the majority required to be adopted by the committee. In the final vote, the EPP teamed up with the ECR and ID Groups to vote against the amended report.
Following today’s committee vote, a debate and plenary vote on the updated rules are scheduled to take place during next week’s plenary session (11-14 September).
Gaby Bischoff, S&D Vice-President, said:
“After today’s vote, it is clear for all to see who is in favour of ambitious reform and who tries to water down the rules. The EPP Group has not shied away from forming an alliance with the right and far right forces in this House to minimalise the changes to the current rules. Together with ECR and ID, they voted against independent oversight of Members’ conduct and they voted against making the European Parliament a more open and more transparent institution.
“My draft report was the result of challenging negotiations with other political groups. However, a majority of political groups signalled their support during the negotiations for more ambitious rules for specific provisions that were dismissed by the EPP.
“For the sake of greater transparency and accountability, I hope that the EPP Group will come to its senses and support the draft report in Plenary next week.
“These are simple and effective rule changes that aim to strengthen trust and confidence in democratic institutions.”