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Conflicts of interest in public administration

With the financial crisis, “conflict of interest” has become a buzzword. Not a day passes without the press uncovering another case of unethical behaviour from holders of public office. The introduction of new ethical rules and standards has become a political topic.

Shadow economy illustration. Hand, giving money

© BooblGum / Fotolia

But what is exactly a conflict of interest? Its definition is not simple and different possibilities have been proposed.

There are different approaches to tackling conflicts of interest. International organisations provide general guidance which is applied by many international and national bodies as the basis for their own specific codes. However, regimes differ amongst EU Member States. And in most Member States individual institutions have their own rules and standards. The types of measures applied also differ amongst EU Member States and in comparison with other parts of the world.

It is strongly disputed that more rules and higher standards lead to a reduction in unethical behaviour and to greater public trust.

Most EU institutions are regulated more strictly than equivalent institutions at national level. However, each institution has its own codes and the level of regulation and enforcement varies amongst them.

Click here to read the complete briefing.

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The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved

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