The European Parliament regularly receives enquiries from citizens as to how it ensures that elected Members do not hold any office that is incompatible with the office of Member of the European Parliament.
As laid down in the Act concerning their direct election, the office of Member of the European Parliament is incompatible with certain mandates. These include being a member of the government of an EU country or a member of the European Commission, the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, the European Ombudsman, or sitting on the European Central Bank’s Board of Directors.
Since the 2004 European elections, the office is also incompatible with that of member of a national parliament.
After each European election, the competent authorities in EU countries notify the European Parliament of the names of newly elected Members, so that they may take their seats at the opening of the first sitting. The elected Members must declare in writing that they do not hold any incompatible office.
Based on the official notification of the full results of the election received from each EU country, the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs prepares a report on the verification of credentials. The European Parliament subsequently rules on the validity of the mandate of each Member. It also decides on any disputes on incompatible offices, other than those that fall under EU countries’ national provisions. Where it is determined that a Member cannot take their seat in Parliament because they hold – and wish to retain – an office that is incompatible, the European Parliament establishes that there is a vacancy for that seat.
Throughout the legislature, the European Parliament also verifies the credentials of individual Members who replace outgoing MEPs.
Continue to put your questions to the Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (Ask EP)! We reply in the EU language that you use to write to us.
- Verification of new MEPs, Frequently Asked Questions put to Parliament’s Spokesperson’s Department
- Rule 3: verification of credentials, Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, July 2018
- Handbook on the incompatibilities and immunity of MEPs, Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional affairs, European Parliament, August 2014