The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) adopted on 5 December 2019, during the 137th session of its Plenary Assembly, a Code of Conduct for its members. This Code was published in the Official Journal of the European Union and is binding for the CoR.
The CoR Code of Conduct is based on similar codes that are already in place in other EU institutions but it also takes into account the specificities of the CoR, whose members are not remunerated and either hold a regional or local electoral mandate or are politically accountable to an elected assembly.
The CoR Code of Conduct mainly includes the following elements:
- Obligation for the members to exercise the duties assigned to them with independence, impartiality, integrity, transparency, dignity and respect for diversity.
- Rules to avoid conflicts of interest, including the obligation for members to either send to the CoR the link to the public declaration of financial interests that they previously submitted at national or subnational level or, in the absence of such declaration, to submit a declaration using the form set out in the Appendix to the Code. In either case, the CoR publishes the information received.
- Limits on the acceptance of gifts or benefits: members must not accept those with a value exceeding EUR 100; above this threshold, members can only accept them if they hand them over to the institution.
- Rules aimed at ensuring that members behave appropriately and with respect towards other members and the staff. The definitions of psychological and sexual harassment in the Staff Regulations (with apply to staff members) are incorporated into the Code.
- Concerning the enforcement, the Code lays down a procedure in the event of alleged breach of its provisions by a member and a number of sanctions in order to ensure its observance. The final decision is taken by the President, assisted by the Secretary-General, after having heard them member concerned. In the event of alleged harassment of a staff member by a CoR member, given the seriousness of the potential offence, the procedure is much more detailed and includes an enquiry by an Advisory Board on Harassment.
CoR members are also subject to Article 300 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which requires them to perform their duties independently and in the general interest of the Union.