Monday, 26 April 2010

A "European Code of conduct for lobbying"?

Just stumbled upon this press release informing that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted in favour of a recommendation to set up a European Code of Conduct for Lobbyists today.

The PACE is only a consultative body of the Council of Europe, uniting parliamentarians from the 47 member states of this international organisation, and so the Recommendation 1908 (2010) is not a directly binding document.

Nevertheless, it will force the governments of the CoE member states to position themselves whether they want to follow the demand of the Assembly to set up the code that would define a common understanding of what "lobbying" is and that would, inter alia, define common rules
"applicable to politicians, civil servants, members of pressure groups and business enterprises [...], including the principle of potential conflicts of interest and the period of time after leaving office during which carrying out lobbying activities should be banned"
It will be interesting to see whether the 47 states can agree to start the work on such a text or whether the final response to the Assembly will be that there is no consensus on such a project and that member states are expected to define and regulate lobbying independently.

In any case: A matter that could be worth following.

PS.: Of 79 parliamentarians present at the time of voting, only 1 voted against the recommendation: Alejandro MUÑOZ ALONSO (Spain, Partido Popular) (cf. voting records).


martinned said...

This sounds like a good idea. The recent "cash for influence" scandal had me a little confused, for example, since everybody seemed to be talking about corruption. Imho, corruption is selling your vote. Working as a lobbyist while also being a member of the House of Commons is not corrupt, it is "merely" highly unethical. Given that such things appear to happen even in the UK, it is probably a good idea to state the rules even more explicitly than many countries have done so far.

martinned said...
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