The European Commission has adopted a code of conduct regulating lobbyists’ behaviour as a forerunner to the voluntary register to be launched by Administration and Anti-Fraud Commissioner Siim Kallas on 23 June.
The ‘Code of Conduct for Interest Representatives‘, officially adopted on 28 May, contains “clear and precise rules” for lobbyists to follow in their relations with Commission staff, according to the EU executive.
In doing so, it sets out general principles like “openness, honesty and integrity” to be adhered to when dealing with the Commission.
“This is not about the Commission telling lobbyists how to behave,” stressed Commissioner Kallas. “In fact, we have only consolidated in one text the principles the profession itself already adheres to.”
Lobbyists intending to participate in the EU executive’s upcoming lobbyists register will be required to accept the terms of the accompanying code of conduct for interest representatives. What’s new, said Kallas, is that “all lobbyists commit to the same code and accept that their adherence to [it] be subject to independent scrutiny, enforcement and sanctions”.
The adopted code calls on those lobbying the Commission to:
- Identify themselves by name and by the entity(ies) they work for or represent;
- Not misrepresent themselves as to the effect of registration to mislead third parties and/or EU staff;
- Declare the interests, and where applicable the clients or the members, which they represent;
- Ensure that, to the best of their knowledge, information which they provide is unbiased, complete, up-to-date and not misleading;
- Not obtain or try to obtain information, or any decision, dishonestly;
- Not induce EU staff to contravene rules and standards of behaviour applicable to them;
- If employing former EU staff, respect their obligation to abide by the rules and confidentiality requirements which apply to them.
The code of conduct is intended to complement the lobbyists register the Commission is set to publish on 23 June and constitutes part of the wider transparency initiative launched by Vice President Kallas in 2005.