Dishonest money-making on the side has been under scrutiny among the European Parliament’s group presidents, negotiating a review of a code of conduct for the assembly’s members. This comes after Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper exposed several MEPs’ apparent willingness to accept cash from lobbyists, in return for tabling amendments to EU laws being voted in the parliament.
Reformist member Rebecca Harms, with the Greens/EFA Group, said: “I think that we must support a very, very severe criminal prosecution of the concerned colleagues. National prosecutors must look into each case.”
Others also feel strongly. They note that just four of their assembly’s 736 members were allegedly successfully targeted by journalists posing as lobbyists, but that everyone’s moral reputation is at stake. The president is in the forefront of the drive to limit conflicts of interest.
Jerzy Buzek said: “A mandatory register for lobbyists is a first in the European Parliament. And I would like – we would like to propose – a mandatory register for all the European institutions, not only for the European Parliament.”
Euronews correspondent Olaf Bruns, in Strasbourg, said: “It will take a while before the new measures are adopted, a month or two. The trap laid for some MEPs may turn out to be a starting point in a healthy process.”