The changes to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure were adopted in plenary today with 505 votes in favour, 93 against, and 52 abstentions.
MEPs adopted a reinforced ban on all MEP activities that would constitute lobbying, the obligation for MEPs to submit declarations of input on ideas or suggestions received from external actors to be annexed to all reports and opinions, and harsher penalties for breaches of the code of conduct. Other changes introduced include:
- broader rules on the publication of meetings so they apply to all MEPs (not just those who hold official positions) and cover meetings with third country representatives;
- stronger rules on ‘revolving doors’, introducing a ban on MEPs from engaging with former MEPs who have left Parliament in the previous six months – complementary to the ban on such activities for former MEPs for the same period;
- an expanded definition of conflicts of interest, better rules on relevant public declarations, and decision-making powers for competent bodies on whether MEPs with conflicts of interest should hold specific positions;
- lower thresholds to declare remunerated activities;
- declarations of assets at the beginning and end of every term of office;
- stronger rules on accepting gifts and declaring travel/subsistence costs paid by third parties, as an MEP as well as a representative of Parliament;
- a stronger role for the competent Advisory Committee and its expansion to include eight MEPs (up from five); and
- specific rules to regulate activities by unofficial groupings of MEPs.
The revisions of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure took place in parallel with actions taken by Parliament’s Bureau on parts of the 14-point plan that could already be implemented.
These changes will come into force on 1 November 2023, except where changes empower the Bureau and the Quaestors to adopt implementing measures, which will apply immediately. Declarations of interests submitted prior to these changes will remain valid until the end of the year.