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EPP and extreme right fail to stop new EU ethics body

Date

14 Mar 2024

Sections

InfoSociety

Today, after months of negotiations, the Conference of Presidents endorsed the provisional agreement on a new EU ethics body that will set a single framework for cooperation on ethical standards across the EU institutions.

After the von der Leyen Commission came forward with a weak proposalthat lacked powers and resources, the Socialists and Democrats led a progressive majority in the Parliament to strengthen the role and responsibilities of the new EU ethics body.  

As a result of pressure from the S&D Group, the EU ethics body now includes a specific role for five independent experts to have the power to look at individual cases of conflicts of interest and to issue recommendations based on its findings.

Throughout the negotiations, including at today’s Conference of Presidents, the EPP teamed up with the extreme right in attempts to stop the setting up of a new body, to water down its mandate and to delay the process. The S&D Group refutes the EPP’s false claim that the proposal for an EU ethics body, endorsed by President von der Leyen, goes against the rule of law.

Iratxe García, S&D Group President, said:

“We welcome the deal, at COP level, on the Inter-institutional Agreement on the Ethics Body. The establishment of a common entity among the EU institutions and bodies is essential for the development of ambitious ethical standards and an improved monitoring and enforcement.

 

“Today at the COP, the true face of the EPP has been shown once again. They joined forces with the extreme right, ECR and ID, refusing an instrument to improve transparency as well as the credibility and legitimacy of European institutions.”

Katarina Barley, Parliament's lead negotiator for the EU ethics body, said:

“Today is a watershed moment for public scrutiny and integrity in the EU. At long last, we have an agreement to set up an EU ethics body with independent experts and the power to examine individual cases. Negotiations were tough, but we as European Parliament can be proud. We stood our ground and achieved good results for our institutions and the public's trust in our work. This is a crucial step to better enforce rules on integrity, transparency and accountability. 

The creation of an ethics body is a success made possible by the European Parliament and the S&D group. The EU Commission's original proposal only envisioned a mere discussion group on minimum standards. Our constant pressure has shaped an ethics body with a watchdog function. Within Parliament, the EPP Group has consistently tried to obstruct the creation of an EU ethics body, working with misrepresented facts and outright disinformation. It is the Socialists and Democrats' continuous push for more scrutiny and higher ethics standards across the EU's institutions that made this victory possible. 

All signatory institutions must swiftly approve the agreement according to their respective rules, so that the new EU ethics body can be in place for the start of the next legislative mandate. There is no more time for dither and delay."

Note to editors

The provisional agreement on the ethics body was reached on Tuesday evening among seven institutions and advisory bodies.

According to today's decision by Parliament's Conference of Presidents, the agreement will be sent without delay to the constitutional affairs committee (AFCO) to start the process for formal adoption.

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