President Juncker proposes to tighten the Code of Conduct for Commissioners

As announced in his 2016 State of the Union Address, President Juncker has sent a letter to European Parliament President Martin Schulz in which he seeks the Parliament’s views on two important issues – an update of the 2010 Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission, and a proposal to tighten the Code of Conduct for Commissioners. President Juncker said: “In the future, like it is common practice in all our Member States, I want the Members of the Commission to be able to stand as candidates in European elections without having to step down from their tasks, as is currently required by the Framework Agreement. European Parliament elections are and should be a necessary rendez-vous with democracy, also for the Commission. At the same time, in the light of recent experience made with Members of the previous Commission, I feel that our Code of Conduct should be tightened in order to set the highest ethical standard possible for possible cases of conflict of interest.” As announced in his State of the Union Address, President Juncker is proposing that the rule set out in the Framework Agreement forcing Commissioners to step down from their functions when they want to run in elections to the European Parliament, is abolished, with appropriate safeguards to prevent the use of Commission staff or resources for campaign purposes. Concerning the Code of Conduct of Commissioners, President Juncker is proposing that the “cooling-off” period – following a Commissioner’s mandate and during which they must inform the Commission of their intention to engage in an occupation after leaving office – is extended from 18 months to two and three years, for former Commissioners and the President of the Commission, respectively.