This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Ethics materials'.







Ref. Ares(2020)5015182 - 24/09/2020
 
 
 
 
Vademecum  
and  
welcome pack  
for staff 
in the Cabinets 
 

Vademecum and welcome pack for staff in the Cabinets 
TABLE OF CONTENTS 
1. Your ethical obligations as Member of Cabinet ................................................... 5 
2. Your Commissioner: ethics and Code of Conduct for the Members
of the European Commission ....................................................................................... 6 
3. Human resources in the Cabinets .............................................................................. 7 
k.
Learning and development ....................................................................................................................... 38 


Vademecum and welcome pack for staff in the Cabinets 
1. Your ethical obligations as Member of Cabinet
Solid ethical behaviour helps to protect the credibility and reputation of the Institution. 
The European Commission is under constant scrutiny by the public, media and other 
institutions, and any error or failure can harm the credibility and reputation of the 
whole College.  
This is very important in the case of the Cabinets, whose members must know and 
respect the rules in place, avoiding any conflicts of interest or favouritism in their 
contacts with different stakeholders. 
The European Commission expects high standards of behaviour from its staff. High 
ethical standards are an important element in building trust in the Institution, and 
therefore in building trust in the European project. In their day-to-day actions, staff 
are expected to carry out their duties objectively, independently, impartially, and to 
conduct themselves solely with the interests of the EU in mind. All staff in the 
Cabinets should keep in mind the basic ethical principles and rules in their daily work.  
Key ethical obligations for staff are set out in Title II of the Staff Regulations (SR), 
(Articles 11 through to 26). These standards are supplemented by implementing rules 
in the form of Commission Decisions and guidelines. Staff remain subject to certain 
provisions even after leaving the service.  
Staff must refrain from dealing with matters in which they have a personal interest, 
such as to impair their independence, and must notify any such situations to the 
appointing authority. Staff must declare also gifts, external activities, activities of the 
spouse or partner. Consideration must also be given as to how a given situation could 
appear in the eyes of an impartial outside observer.  
Staff have a right to freedom of expression. However, this right must be seen against 
the Staff Regulation’s obligations relating to the duty of loyalty and the principle of 
impartiality, the obligation to behave in a manner in keeping with the dignity of the 
function, as well as in light of the obligation not to disseminate information not in the 
public domain. In concrete terms, staff must notify the appointing authority of any 
intention to publish on the work of the EU.  
Ethical conduct also extends to the way that staff behave in the workplace. The Staff 
Regulations bans harassment, whether psychological and/or sexual, and the 
Commission has put in place both a formal complaints procedure, as well as informal 
ways of addressing allegations of harassment, by means of mediation or through a 
network of confidential counsellors. 
Breaches of ethical obligations – or indeed, of any provisions of the Staff Regulations, 
are liable to disciplinary follow up. This provision also applies to staff who have left 
the service. 
Cabinet staff should read the publication Practical Guide to Staff Ethics and Conduct.  
More information is also available on the CabiNet website.  


Vademecum and welcome pack for staff in the Cabinets 
2. Your Commissioner: ethics and Code of Conduct for the
Members of the European Commission
Members of the Commission have to respect a number of ethical obligations linked to 
their mandate. As member of Cabinet, you can support your Member to respect and 
fulfil these obligations on a daily basis and thereby help to protect the integrity and 
reputation of the European Commission and its Members as a whole.  
The obligations of the Members of the Commission are enshrined in Article 17 of the 
Treaty on European Union and Article 245 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the 
European Union. The Code of Conduct for the Members of the European Commission 
sets out how these principles and obligations must be implemented in practice. The 
Code contains specific rules on different areas: 
x  Members’ declarations of interests; 
x  the specific procedure to follow in case a Member has an actual, potential or 
perceived conflict of interests; 
x  the use of Commission resources by Members; 
x  expenses on receptions and professional representation in the framework of a 
Member’s institutional activities; 
x  missions of Members; 
x  acceptance of gifts, hospitality, decorations, prizes and awards for Members 
(gifts are understood as advantages with a pecuniary value like physical 
objects or free entries to events which are normally only accessible in return 
for payment; hospitality is understood as an offer of food, drink, 
accommodation and/or entertainment from any source outside the institution);  
x  transparency requirements as regards contacts with interest representatives; 
x  external activities of Members during the term of office; 
x  Members' participation in national and European politics during the term of 
office; and  
x  post-term of office activities of Members. 
Cabinet staff who plan meetings or missions for their Member of the Commission or 
accompany him or her to events should be aware of these provisions. The 
Commission and the Members are under constant scrutiny by the public, media and 
other institutions. Any negligence can harm their integrity and reputation. You should 
also be aware that the granting of patronage to an event by a Member of the 
Commission is subject to a number of conditions. 
The Secretariat-General is available for any question that Members or their Cabinets 
might have concerning the Code of Conduct for the Members of the Commission. 
Contact  
Secretariat-General - Unit SG.C.2 – ‘Ethics, Good Administration and Relations with the 
European Ombudsman 
x  e-mail: SG UNITE-C2


Vademecum and welcome pack for staff in the Cabinets 
Courses for managers relating to specific priorities, procedures or processes in place: 
Ethics & Integrity 
To make staff aware of the rules governing staff conduct and the prevention of and 
reporting of fraud and irregularities (‘Whistle-blowing’) as well as to raise staff 
awareness on keeping the highest standards of ethics and integrity in the 
Commission. 
Dealing with Lobbyists 
For all staff dealing routinely or occasionally with lobbyists. Its aim is to make 
participants feel more confident and comfortable when dealing with lobbyists by: 
x  Understanding the various forms lobbying can take and the different actors 
that may act as lobbyists; 
x  Being aware of the benefits and potential pitfalls of meeting lobbyists; 
x  Effectively pull information from, and provide information to, lobbyists while 
respecting the Commission’s rules and regulations. 
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