I'd like to propose the following amendments:
The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to assist all Councillors in the discharge of their obligations to the Council of the
European Union European Council…
The Code applies to Councillors in all aspects of their representative duties.
It does not seek to regulate what Councillors do in their purely private and personal lives.
Delete entire subsection.
Integrity: Holders of the office of Councillor should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to
exterior third-party individuals or organisations…
Openness: Holders of the office of Councillor should be as open as
possible can reasonably be expected about all decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions. and restrict information only when absolutely necessary or if genuine discretion is required.
Honesty: Holders of the office of Councillor have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties.
and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
The acceptance by a Councillor of a bribe to influence their conduct as a Councillor, including any fee, compensation or reward in connection with the promotion of, or opposition to, any
Act, Bill, Motion, or other matter submitted, or intended to be submitted to the Council is contrary to this Code. and is a prosecutable offense, resulting in the complete suspension of the convicted Councillor if found guilty through a hearing conducted by the Speakerof the Council. If found criminally guilty by the Speaker of the Council, the suspended Councillor’s nation of origin and its competent authorities may pursue criminal action on a national level.
Delete entire subsection.
The Speaker of the Council will consider any report of a breach of this Code to them and report its conclusions and recommendations to the Council. The Council, through
an absolute majority a supermajority vote, may impose a sanction on the Councillor where it considers it necessary, which will involve a temporary suspension from their duties as Councillor of a minimum duration of 7 days and not exceeding 14 days. and the payment of 500,000€ per day of suspension by the suspended-Councillor’s nation of origin .
NEW SUBSECTION V.()
().Councillors must treat their staff, and all Council employees, with respect; and refrain from harassment or bullying in any form. The Speaker of the Council shall establish reporting and victim support services for instances of harassment or bullying in the Council or its offices. No aspect of this subsection, or this Bill, may be used to undermine the precept that all views can be voiced in the Council itself.
NEW SUBSECTION VI.()
(). In the event that an investigation relating to the Code has, in the view of the Speaker, produced evidence that a crime has been committed by a Councillor, then the Speaker shall inform the police and any other relevant authorities in the Councillor’s nation of origin.
To briefly explain these:
Amendment 1 is a matter of housekeeping and terminology;
Amendment 2 at least curbs the distinction between 'representative duties' and 'private and personal lives'. Quite clearly, there are things that could be described as 'private and personal' which are elsewhere covered in this bill, such as the requirement to follow the law. Is a drunk driving offence, for instance, actionable under this code? I believe my amendment would eliminate this inconsistency which could potentially prove to be a loophole.
Amendment 3 removes the oath requirement. I would at the very least like this to remain an option since I do not believe that Councillors should have to swear an oath to take a seat which belongs to their nation, and will revisit the oath issue more closely later on.
Amendment 4 rewords the clause to, in my belief, clarify that 'exterior' organisations do not include the government of a Councillor's nation of origin.
Amendment 5 rephrases the clause to prevent it becoming a sort of extremely expansive and unregulated Freedom of Information Act by the backdoor. Under the current wording, private citizens could in theory ask for Councillors' emails, for instance, and the Councillor would have to either turn the information over or prove that it is 'absolutely necessary' that they not do so. This would make it more difficult for us to do our jobs, not least since our offices' workloads could be increased exponentially by frivolous requests for information.
Amendment 6 removes what I believe is a well-intentioned, but underdeveloped proposal. The current text does not define what a 'conflict' is, does not set a baseline that would exclude trivial or tangential so-called 'conflicts', and does not explain what sort of steps would be necessary in what circumstances. I believe this could be revisited at a later date, but for now declaration of interests should suffice.
Amendment 7 removes some unfortunate language - the Speaker is not a judge in a criminal court and therefore cannot find anybody 'criminally guilty' of anything - and removes provisions that should be and are dealt with in Section VI.
Amendment 8 removes the wording about conduct towards other Councillors, which I believe undermines the Constitutional protection of free speech in this Council. I have proposed a broader provision against bullying and harassment in a later amendment.
Amendment 9 jacks up the requirement for sanctioning a Councillor to a supermajority, which ensures that there is more or less consensus that sanctions are appropriate, and reduces the chance of these proceedings being turned into a popularity contest. They also remove the objectionable and trivial financial punishment of Councillor's nations of origin.
Amendment 10 introduces protection for all Council employees, not just Councillors, against bullying and harassment, and institutes some rudimentary procedures for dealing with allegations of such. I have also introduced a line to protect free speech in this chamber.
Amendment 11 deals with any criminal implications of investigations relating to this code, and, I believe, adequately signposts that criminal allegations against Councillors are not to be followed up by Europolis authorities, nor by the Council itself, but only by the member state's authorities. While I continue to have qualms about the provision in the Bill that "Councillors have a duty to uphold the law," I believe this amendment makes clear that Councillors are subject to diplomatic immunity, with the possible exception of Constitution violations, and that nations reserve the right to decide for themselves who to appoint or elect as their Councillor, irrespective of any legal troubles a candidate might have.