Transparency International EU (TI EU) works hard to ensure that conflicts of interest in the EU decision-making process in all institutions are managed openly and effectively. This means that proper rules must be put in place to ensure that policy-makers do not have any potential or real conflicts of interest between the public office they occupy and any outside activity they might have. Preventing conflicts of interest means that relevant office holders declare their financial interests and assets. These declarations can then be scrutinised and checked by the relevant oversight bodies as well as the public, civil society and the media. If conflicts of interest do occur or if rules are breached, there needs to be independent institutions to investigate and sanction misbehaviour.
The current system for the prevention and resolution of potential or real conflicts of interest at EU level has many areas which need improvement. In the current European Parliament for example, a TI EU analysis of MEPs self-declarations financial interests has shown that current MEPs have declared 1,503 side activities, of which 842 are paid. With imprecise job descriptions being common and a pervasive lack of oversight, the current risk for conflicts of interest in the European parliament is considerable. As for the European Commission, Commissioner candidates should undergo a systematic assessment for potential conflicts of interest that is independent of political considerations.
TI EU advocates for reforms of the European Parliament as well as the European Commission oversight regimes by establishing an independent ethics body with sufficient resources and credible sanctioning mechanisms.
For further details on our work on conflicts of interest: