The Code of Conduct in Annex III of the 2014 Interinstitutional Agreement on the EU Transparency Register sets out the rules for all those who register and establishes the underlying principles for standards of behaviour in all relations with the EU institutions.

The parties (EC/EP) consider that all interest representatives interacting with them whether on a single occasion or more frequently, registered or not should behave in conformity with this code of conduct.

In their relations with EU institutions and their Members, officials and other staff, interest representatives shall:

  1. always identify themselves by name and, by registration number, if applicable, and by the entity or entities they work for or represent; declare the interests, objectives or aims they promote and if, where applicable, specify the clients or members whom they represent;
  2. not obtain or try to obtain information or decisions dishonestly or by use of undue pressure or inappropriate behaviour;
  3. not claim any formal relationship with the European Union or any of its institutions in their dealings with third parties or misrepresent the effect of registration in such a way as to mislead third parties or officials or other staff of the European Union, or use the logos of EU institutions without express authorization;
  4. ensure that, to the best of their knowledge, information, which they provide upon registration, and subsequently in the framework of their activities covered by the register, is complete, up-to-date and not misleading; accept that all information provided is subject to a review and agree to cooperate with administrative requests for complementary information and updates;
  5. not sell to third parties copies of documents obtained from EU institutions;
  6. in general, respect and avoid any obstruction to the implementation of all rules, codes and good governance practices established by EU institutions;
  7. not induce Members of the institutions of the European Union, officials or other staff of the European Union, or assistants or trainees of those Members, to contravene the rules and standards of behaviour applicable to them;
  8. if employing former officials or other staff of the European Union, or assistants or trainees of Members of EU institutions, respect the obligation of such employees to abide by the rules and confidentiality requirements which apply to them;
  9. obtain the prior consent of the Member or Members of the European Parliament concerned as regards any contractual relationship with, or employment of, any individual within a Members’ designated entourage;
  10. observe any rules laid down on the rights and responsibilities of former Members of the European Parliament, and the European Commission;
  11. inform whomever they represent of their obligations towards the EU institutions.

Individuals who have registered with the European Parliament with a view to being issued a personal, non-transferable pass affording access to the European Parliament’s premises shall:

  1. ensure that they wear the access pass visibly at all times in European Parliament premises;
  2. comply strictly with the relevant European Parliament Rules of Procedure;
  3. accept that any decision on a request for access to the European Parliament’s premises is the sole prerogative of the Parliament and that registration shall not confer an automatic entitlement to an access pass.


Conflicts of interest: The code fails to require lobbyists to avoid professional conflicts  or the appearance of a conflict of interest. The issue of conflicts of interest should be included and clearly defined in order to avoid misinterpretations.  

Undue Pressure/Inappropriate Behaviour: The code should provide a definition of and/or guidance of what would be considered undue pressure ('improper influence') and Inappropriate Behaviour.  

Financial inducements: The code only indirectly refers to financial inducements ("not induce EU officials to contravene standards of behaviour applicable to them"). The offering and giving of financial inducements should be explicitly prohibited.  

Employment of former EU officials: The code should specify that lobbyists may not employ former officials of the EU, in particular Commission officials, unless the EU institutions have formally and transparently assessed any possible conflict of interest that may arise from any particular employment of its former officials, and have decided that the proposed employment does not cause conflict of interest.  For high ranking EU officials, the code should state explicit cooling-off periods (ranging from 6 months to 5 years) during which the person may not work as an interest representative at all.  

External transparency: Apart from the obligation for lobbyists to disclose the information required for being registered (including regular reports), the code should further require lobbyists to make information about clients (in the case of consultancy firms) and sources of funding available in between reporting dates on their website or upon request by the public. This avoids cases where information on potential new clients and funding sources only becomes available when it is not relevant any more.  

Public interest groups: The wording of the code should also reflect the realities of public interest groups: The code does not reflect the characteristics of public interest organisations. Public interest groups, contrary to business associations, do not have ‘clients’ for example. The code should differentiate between the various types of interest representatives while applying the same rules to all.


Anyone may trigger an alert or make a complaint about possible non-compliance with the Code of Conduct. Alerts and complaints must be handled in accordance with the procedures laid down , with due regard for the principles of proportionality and good administration. Organisations and individuals that register in the Transparency Register accept that any alert or complaint concerning them will be handled in accordance with the Code of Conduct's rules (Annex III). They acknowledge that measures (Annex IV) may be taken if they fail to comply with the Code.


Anyone can trigger an alert about a factual error in registrants' information. Alerts about ineligible entries are also possible.


Anyone can lodge a formal complaint if they suspect that a registrant has failed to abide by the Code of Conduct (errors of fact are dealt with as alerts). Complaints must be backed by evidence.

Where registrants or their representatives intentionally fail to comply with the Code of Conduct, the measures laid down in Annex IV will be taken. In the event of repeated non-cooperation, repeated inappropriate behaviour, or serious non-compliance with the Code of Conduct, the registrant will be deleted from the Register for either one or two years. This measure will be placed on public record in the Register .


Applicants for the register "have to subscribe to a code of conduct, which is to be enforced credibly and transparently" . The current code however does not offer any clarification on the issue of enforcement. It mentions that "breaches of the above rules may lead to suspension or exclusion from the register” and that "Signatories should be aware that the citizens have the possibility to lodge a complaint about a suspected breach of the rules set out in this code." But it remains unclear which body will be in charge of monitoring compliance and deciding on possible exclusion from the register. It is also unclear whether this body will only act after being alerted by a complaint from a citizen, or whether the enforcing body will effectively monitor compliance, including by carrying out own-initiative investigations.

A robust and proactive monitoring and enforcement function is crucial to enhance credibility of the code of conduct. An independent monitoring body should deal with complaints, including for citizens and public interest organizations, with the ability to start own initiative investigations.

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