Appropriate behaviour rules 

The European Parliament has defined certain rules for MEPs and staff regarding transparency and ethics. Find out more.

Preventing harassment and discrimination

Members shall refrain from any type of psychological or sexual harassment and respect the Code of Appropriate Behaviour in exercising their duties (see Rule 10 (6) of the Rules of Procedure).

The Code of Appropriate Behaviour for Members of the European Parliament seeks to ensure that members behave towards everyone working in the European Parliament with dignity, courtesy and respect and without prejudice or discrimination.

In doing so, members are expected to also behave in a professional manner and refrain, in their relations with staff, from degrading, insulting, offensive or discriminatory language or any other unethical, demeaning or unlawful actions.

The Code of Appropriate Behaviour is annexed to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure (Annex II).

Upon taking up their office with the Parliament, each member is required to sign a declaration confirming his or her commitment to complying with the Code.

Members who have not signed this declaration may not be elected as office-holders of Parliament or of one of its bodies, be appointed as a rapporteur or participate in an official delegation or interinstitutional negotiations. All declarations, whether signed or not, will be published on members’ profile pages on Parliament’s website. Since Members' signatures cannot be published on the website, the presence of a date on a declaration means it was signed on that day.

Defining and addressing conflicts of interests

The Code of Conduct for Members with respect to financial interests and conflicts of interest sets out as its guiding principles that members shall act solely in the public interest and conduct their work with disinterest, integrity, openness, diligence, honesty, accountability and respect for the European Parliament's reputation.

The Code of Conduct defines conflicts of interest and how members should address them, including the obligation for Members to submit a detailed declaration of their financial interests and to declare their attendance at events organised by third parties, as well as any gifts received in an official capacity.

Any member found to be in breach of the Code of Conduct can be given a penalty by the President. This penalty is announced by the President during a plenary session and published on Parliament's website for the rest of the legislative term.

More information: Rules of Procedure: Rule 11 - Members’ financial interests and Transparency Register

Ethical Conduct of staff

European civil servants must observe a set of rules when exercising their professional duties, both while in office and after leaving the service. These rules are laid out in the staff regulations, the Code of Conduct adopted by the Bureau of the European Parliament, and require all staff to be independent, circumspect, discreet and loyal.

These general obligations exist in order to safeguard the activities and the reputation of the EU and its staff, and apply both during the performance of staff duties and outside work.

This means that any interest in any business or organisation that could compromise the respect of these obligations must be declared immediately. Outside activities covered by these rules, paid or unpaid, must first be approved.

Parliament staff may not accept gifts or favours from third parties without obtaining prior permission, unless the value of the gift is less than €100 or €300 over the course of a year.

Finally, when staff leave, they are required to notify Parliament if they intend to engage in any kind of paid or unpaid activity.

Regarding appropriate behaviour with lobby groups, please visit our page on transparency and lobby groups.