Anti-corruption NGO Transparency International EU urge the European Parliament to ban MEPs' side activities. (Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)


Anti-corruption NGO calls for EP ban on MEPs’ side hustles


Anti-corruption NGO Transparency International EU has urged the European Parliament to ban side hustles by MEPs.

This call comes after the organisation released a report on MEPs’ extracurricular engagements.

According to the NGO’s report, 70 per cent of members of the European Parliament take part in activities unrelated to their parliamentary duties, with 26 per cent receiving money from them.

“The European Parliament should ban MEPs from engaging in side activities, paid or unpaid,” said Transparency International.

According to the NGO, these side activities could lead to “conflicts of interest,” potentially influencing the “voting decisions of MEPs.”

The report also reveals MEPs’ side income amounts to €8.7 million annually.

Such engagements blur the distinction between personal interests and political obligations, raising doubts about the motives guiding MEPs’ actions, says Transparency International.


The report notes a number of instances where MEPs’ external activities directly intersect with their political roles.

It cites the examples of French MEP Jeremy Decerle, who is both a farmer and a member of the agriculture committee, and Conservative and Reformist MEP Johan van Overtveldt, who serves on the executive board of a company specialising in payment systems technology while also drafting legislation about payments.

Ahead of the 2024 European elections, such associations can erode trust between citizens and politicians, Transparency International EU warns.

“How can European citizens be sure their elected representatives are acting in the public interest, if they’re contracted by outside companies?” the NGO said.

The organisation criticises the European Parliament for failing to uphold its democratic integrity.

The European Parliament voted on April 29 to join the inter-institutional European Union Ethics Body.

Critics argued relying on EU institutions to monitor their own behaviour was insufficient and inappropriate.

The objective of joining the inter-institutional ethics body was to establish a standard, external code of conduct.

As 2024 European elections approach, Transparency International EU hoped their report would prompt more stringent transparency policies within the EU.

“Given that the European Parliament elections are just over a month away, now is the time to demonstrate to citizens that their elected representatives are taking their interests seriously,” the NGO said.

It urged the European Parliament to fulfil its responsibility in safeguarding democracy.

“European citizens deserve better than to be discarded by politicians distracted by their side incomes, and it’s time the European Parliament recognised it,” it added.

Some critics, though, argued such a ban could curtail MEPs’ ability to actively engage with issues they are passionate about, and limit their capacity to represent their constituents.