The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) of the Council of Europe recommends that Codes of Conduct and Guidance (wherever they exist) be reviewed in order to ensure that public office holders have appropriate standards/guidance for dealing with lobbyists and others whose intent is to sway public policy on behalf of specific interests. We define “Public Office Holders” in broad terms as anyone holding positions which, by any title have decision-making or advisory responsibilities such as cabinet ministers, ministerial staff and advisors, ministerial appointees, deputy ministers, heads of government agencies, members of parliament, senators and their staff.

First of all, lobbying has an important role to play to play in securing the democratic right to make representations to government and to have access to the policymaking process [which] is fundamental to the proper conduct of public life and the development of sound policy.  

  1. Public office holders should take particular care not to give the impression of giving greater weight to representations because they come from paid lobbyists;
  2. Representations should be given such weight as they deserve based on their intrinsic merit;
  3. Public office holders must in their dealings with lobbyists observe the prohibitions on paid advocacy and on the provision of advice or services for payment or other reward. The prohibition on accepting payment in return for services means that public office holders may not, in return for payment or other incentive or reward, assist outside organisations or persons in influencing ministers, officials, members of parliament. This includes conferring exclusive benefits upon the organization or making use of their position to lobby, or to help others to lobby, ministers, officials and members of parliament, by whatever means.
  4. A Public Office Holder may never provide services in return for payment or other incentive or reward (regardless of whether the Public Office Holder intends to register and declare the interest.
  5. Public Office Holders should decline all but the most insignificant or incidental hospitality, benefit or gift offered by a lobbyist.

Basic Rules of Ethics for Members of Parliament (MPs, MEPs) in their relations with Lobbyists

A "Lobbyist" - anyone who engages, as an occupation, in acts to convince a Member of Parliament on matters of legislation and Parliament’s resolutions.

  • A Member of Parliament shall avoid employing a lobbyist, or any activity on behalf of a lobbyist, in the Parliament or outside the Parliament , whether directly or by means of an assistant of the Member of Parliament.
  • A Member of Parliament shall avoid giving a personal undertaking to a lobbyist, his sponsors or his agents, that he will vote or act in the Parliament in a certain manner.
  • A Member of Parliament shall avoid deceiving a lobbyist regarding matters that are being dealt with by the Parliament or its Committees.
  • A Member of Parliament shall refuse to receive from a lobbyist, directly or indirectly, payment or other benefit, whether for himself or for another person or body.
  • A Member of Parliament, who wishes to speak on a certain matter in a committee of the Parliament , after a lobbyist or any other person with an interest has approached him on that matter, in writing or orally, shall disclose in his speech that a certain lobbyist or person with an interest approached him on this matter, on behalf of a certain body.




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