This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Ethics guide for staff'.

 
 
  
 
Overview Newsletter articles related to Ethics  
 
•  Edition n.5 - Friday 10 September 2010 
•  Edition n. 9 - Friday 8 October 2010 
•  Edition n. 13 - Friday 12 November 2010 
•  Edition n. 17 - Friday 10 December 2010 
•  Edition n. 22 - Monday 31 January 2011 
•  Edition n. 25 - Friday 18 February 2011 
•  Edition n. 28 - Friday 11 March 2011 
•  Edition n. 36 - Friday 20 May 2011 
•  Edition n. 39 - Friday 17 June 2011 
•  Edition n. 41 - Friday 1 July 2011 
•  Edition n. 45 - Friday 9 September 2011 
•  Edition n. 60 - Friday 13 January 2012 
•  Edition n. 69 - Friday 16 March 2012 
 
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Edition n.5 - Friday 10 September 2010 
 

Nouveau module 'Ethics' dans Sysper II 
 
La DG HR vient de lancer un nouveau système d'autorisation électronique 
permettant de traiter toutes déclarations relevant du titre II du statut (p.ex. : 
autorisations à exercer des activités extérieures) via Sysper2, sous le nom de 
module 'Ethics'. Le nouveau module est accessible dans Sysper II depuis le 1er 
septembre 2010
 et, dans un premier temps, couvrira les demandes d'activités 
extérieures pour le personnel en activité.  
 
Toute nouvelle demande d'autorisation d'exercer une activité extérieure, ainsi 
que sa validation, se fera donc dorénavant à partir de ce nouveau module. Toutefois, pour une période 
transitoire d'un mois et pour des raisons exceptionnelles, les formulaires papier resteront disponibles à travers 
MyIntracomm. 
 
Des questions? Ecrivez à la boîte fonctionnelle: HR-B1-ETHIQUE. 
 
Plus de détails 
 
 
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Edition n. 9 - Friday 8 October 2010 
 
Answer the quiz… 
 
Background:  
I have recently completed a survey on sensitive working matters in our DG. The following night I went to dinner 
with an old friend and I told him stories on my findings, on how incompetent some Units in my DG were, naming 
persons, units and details of findings. The next day I was called by the Director General in his office. Apparently 
his daughter was on the next table. After that, I have learnt my lesson on handling confidential information… 
 
Which ethical principle did I primarily breach? 
1.1) Independence  
1.2) Impartiality  
1.3) Objectivity  
1.4) Circumspection  - reflect before you act  
 
Want to know the correct answer? Enrol- for the Internal ethics training of DG JUSTICE/DG HOME AFFAIRS! 
 
On the horns of a dilemma: a practical approach to ethics 
 
Half-day workshops on 28 and 29 October  
from 14.00 to 17.00 
In LX46 – Fortescue room 
 
Registrations via Syslog 
 
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Edition n. 13 - Friday 12 November 2010 
 
 
Le dilemme éthique... 
 
Le cas : Vous êtes en mission à Paris pour préparer un projet de proposition 
législative et vous êtes invité(e) dans un cher et beau restaurant par un haut 
fonctionnaire du gouvernement français. Le dîner a été réservé et payé à 
l'avance par cette personne et vous connaissez les règles de la Commission en matière d'acceptation 
de cadeaux ou d'invitations … Cependant, il est très important de maintenir de bonnes relations avec 
le fonctionnaire et les autres acteurs participant au dîner … Quelles sont les règles éthiques dans cette 
situation et que devriez-vous faire ?    
 
Découvrez la réponse et discutez de ce cas avec d'autres collègues pendant des ateliers interactifs 
sur l'éthique !
 
Inscrivez-vous dès à présent à ce cours sur mesure pour nos DGs dans nos DGs (LX46 – Salle 
Fortescue) le 29 novembre (FR) de 14:00 à 17:00 
Cet atelier de trois heures, vous donnera l'opportunité d'exercer votre raisonnement éthique sur des 
cas concrets et de comprendre comment sont appliquées les lignes directrices de la Commission en la 
matière.  
Inscriptions via Syslog. 
 
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Edition n. 17 - Friday 10 December 2010 
 
 
CAN I ACCEPT GIFTS? 
 
The holiday season is here again! As we buy and receive gifts from friends 
and family, a key question is raised: what about business or work-related 
gifts?  
 
According to the Staff Regulations, we should not accept gifts, favours, 
donations, or payments from governments or any other source outside the 
institution without obtaining prior permission from the Appointing 
Authority. As a general rule of thumb, we would recommend that you 
decline all offers that have more than merely symbolic value (such as 
diaries, calendars, small desk items, etc.). 
In any case, if you are offered any gifts, favours or donations with a 
combined value of more than €50 from a single source in any given year 
and you want to accept them, you must apply for permission, giving a 
justification and using this form. Keep in mind that when considering the €50 limit you have to count in any 
lunch, drinks, or dinner invitations offered earlier this year, in addition to any gifts which that person or 
organisation wishes to give you now.  
 
Questions?  
•  Check the ethics' rules about gifts on MyIntracomm  
•  Download the DG HOME & DG JUSTICE Code on Professional Ethics for more detailed explanations and 
other ethical questions  
•  Contact our local Ethics correspondents 
 
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Edition n. 22 - Monday 31 January 2011 
 

 
Fraud awareness training 
for DG Justice and DG Home Affairs 
 
Organised by the Shared Internal Audit Capability unit (SIAC) 
 
Learn all you have always wanted to know about: fraud risks in the 
EU and particularly in DG Home Affairs and DG Justice; common fraud schemes; red flags; who is 
responsible for fighting fraud and much more! 
 
1-day sessions on:  
 
08/02/11 – LX46 Schengen room (00/125) 
17/02/11 – LX46 Schengen room (00/125) 
25/02/11 - LX46 Vitorino room (00/179) 
 
Registrations via Syslog 
 
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Edition n. 25 - Friday 18 February 2011 
 
A matter of ETHICS 
 
Question: I'm a Commission official and a huge Beatles fan. 
In the evenings after work and on weekends, I do research 
on the Beatles and also am a member of a local Beatles 
association. I have grown to become a respected expert in 
the field, and sometimes get invited to give presentations or 
speeches on the Beatles. I am also in talks to publish a book 
on the topic and am thinking of starting a blog. Is this 
allowed? 
 
Answer: This could be considered as a hobby, and officials 
are free to perform any such activity in their leisure time 
outside of the office unless the activity interferes with the 
interests of the Commission. It appears in this case that there is no conflict and could not be any conflict or 
overlapping interest between this activity and your work in the DG. If, however, the activity could develop to be 
considered an activity of an occupational nature  (i.e. a profession) or go beyond what can be reasonably 
considered a leisure activity, you would have to request an authorisation in advance (Art 12 b of the Staff 
Regulations) from the Appointing Authority.  
 
For  publications or speeches on non-EU matters, freedom of expression applies and you do not require any 
authorisation to publish. However, if the publication (including its writing/preparation) or speech could be 
considered an external activity, notably, if under contract, and/or would entitle you to any financial payment
you must ask your Appointing Authority for prior authorisation to accept it. Royalties received for publications 
are not subject to the annual ceiling of €4,500 that applies to work you undertake outside the Commission. 
 
[Adapted from Commission en Direct, editions of 14.03.2008 and 10.09.2010] 
 
Do you have any ethical questions? 
Please send them to the HOME NEWS mailbox as a general/anonymous question and we will try to cover them 
in our next Ethics article in the newsletter, or contact one of our Ethics correspondents. 
 
 
ETHICS - Want to know more about… 
… external activities? 
… acceptance of gifts? 
… invitations from third parties or hospitality during a mission? 
… conflict of interest? 
 
REGISTER NOW for Tuesday's half-day interactive workshop on Ethics, tailored to our DGs:  
 
On the horns of a dilemma: a practical approach to ethics 
Tuesday, 22 February, 9:30 to 12:30 in LX46, Fortescue (00/072) 
Registration via SYSLOG 
 
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Edition n. 28 - Friday 11 March 2011 
 
Planning to organise a Team building 
event with your unit? 
 
We have plenty of suggestions for you!  
 
 
Do any of your team members ever face ethically 
sensitive situations
? The work element of your team 
building could consist of an interactive session with 
discussions about cases your team might face…    
 
 
Are you interested in working more efficiently while encouraging diversity? An experienced 
facilitator can guide you through a workshop on an equal opportunities topic of your choice.  
 
 
Would you like to support the European Year of Volunteering? Spending time with your 
colleagues doing some volunteering work is an interesting and enriching wat to spend an 
Away Day, and we can help get you started…  
 
More information 
 
Read more about Team building activities in our DG 
 
Contact HOME-JUST LEARNING & TRAINING 
 
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Edition n. 36 - Friday 20 May 2011 
 
 
Volunteer and share your experience!  
Are you taking part in volunteering activities which you are proud of and 
you would like to promote among colleagues for a good cause? Share your story with us!  
Home Affairs news will publish it and help you and us promote volunteering among colleagues. 
Contact: HOME-JUST INTERCOMM 
Read about other colleagues' volunteer experiences: Edition 18/02/2011 (page 3) ;  Edition 23/03/2011  
 
Ready to volunteer? A few ethical considerations to keep in mind:  
1. Make sure the activity you would like to undertake: 
     - does not interfere with your work for the Commission and takes place outside working hours 
     - is not a source of conflict of interest or damage the image of the Commission 
2. Submit an external activities request for the activity if needed (more guidance and examples here) 
     It's easy: Go to Sysper 2 and under "Ethics" you will find the option "My ethics requests". 
3. Need advice? Our Ethics correspondents will be happy to inform you on the best practice to follow! 
 
More information  
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Edition n. 39 - Friday 17 June 2011 
 
 
 Whistleblowing: Key facts we should all 
remember 
 
Whistleblowing or reporting serious wrongdoings by colleagues during the exercise of their functions is part of 
the duties of any member of staff in the Commission and is essential to stop illegal activities or fraud. We 
should therefore be aware of some basic information: 
 
o  The obligation concerns facts of which one becomes aware in the exercise of his/her 
professional activity. It does not cover disagreements over policy matters. 
 
o  A staff member who has reported a case of illegal activities, fraud, corruption or any serious 
wrongdoing, is subject to an adequate protection. 
 
o  Information on presumed illegal activities and serious wrongdoings must be given without delay 
in a written form (e.g. an e-mail) to your immediate superior or Director-General, or the 
Secretary General of the Commission or directly to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) 
depending on who the person involved is and exercising the greatest discretion with regard to 
the facts

 
o  Whoever receives information from a whistleblower on presumed illegal activities or serious 
wrongdoings should transmit it onward to OLAF without delay ("copy" to Head of Unit SRD.01, 
contact person for relations with OLAF). At this stage disclosure of the transmitted information 
to other instances/persons (in particular to the press) is not permitted.
 
 
 
Please read the full note sent by the Director General via ARES: Ref. Ares(2011)614806 
 
Contact person for more information about whistleblowing (SRD.01) 
Ethics correspondents of DG Justice and Home Affairs (SRD.02) 
 
 
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Edition n. 41 - Friday 1 July 2011 
 
 

IDOC: tackling negligence, non-
compliance and wrongdoing 
 
The 2010 Activity Report of the Investigation and Disciplinary Office 
of the Commission (IDOC) has just been published, and summarises 
IDOC's activities, including inquiries, pre-disciplinary hearings and disciplinary procedures. 
 
IDOC was set up in 2002, with the aim of ensuring that officials or former officials of the European Commission 
comply with obligations and duties reported in the Staff Regulations. 
 
How does IDOC work?  
 
The Investigation and Disciplinary Office of the Commission (IDOC) has two main tasks: 
 
• 
conducting administrative inquiries instructions from the appointing authority to verify whether any 
obligation as laid down in the Staff Regulations has been breached 
 
• 
conducting disciplinary procedures once there is evidence that an obligation has been breached 
 
What can happen in case the breach is proven after inquiry by IDOC? 
 
Disciplinary actions range from a warning recorded in the personnel file for 18 months for minor violations to 
warnings recorded for 6 years for more serious breaches, deferment of advancement, downgrading, removal 
from post and reduction of pension entitlements. 
 
Are there many cases of violations/disciplinary actions in the Commission? 
 
In total, 19 disciplinary sanction decisions were taken, including one dismissal. In addition, five (non-
disciplinary) warnings
 were addressed to the individuals concerned. 
 
What kind of cases does IDOC examine?  
 
In 2010, the cases examined by IDOC dealt with, among others: 
 
• 
abusive behaviour intended to achieve undue financial benefits 
 
• 
alleged cases of harassment 
 
• 
acceptance of unauthorised gifts 
 
• 
abusive use of informatics and telephone equipment of the Commission 
 
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• 
behaviour constituting a legal offence 
 
Why is it important for us to know this? 
 
Giving visibility to the report within the Commission is of utmost importance to inform staff of the 
consequences of negligence or lack of compliance, and the administrative procedures one might go through in 
case of non-compliance with staff obligations. Such information is a vital part of our ethics strategy geared 
towards the prevention of wrongdoing. 
 
 
Read the IDOC report for 2010 
Learn more about IDOC 
 
 
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Edition n. 45 - Friday 9 September 2011 
 
Ethics – test your knowledge! 
 
How much do you know about Ethics? Here's  a  quick  way  to  test  some  basic 
knowledge:   

Question 1.  
Your brother owns a small restaurant in Brussels and business is not going too well, 
so he has had to cut some staff to save money. Weekends, however, are busy so 
you offer to help him out by manning the bar every Saturday evening for free. 
Which statement below applies?  
(a)  It is a family issue and the work is not being paid, so no permission is required.  
(b) The work is unpaid, but before engaging in it, I have to ask for permission. 
(c) I only need to request authorisation from my hierarchy and report to DG HR if I get paid. 
(d) I am allowed to work for a few weeks without seeking permission, but if it goes on for over 
6 months, I will need to report it.  
 
Question 2.  
You have been invited to teach students a course on European affairs at your former university. This 
will involve over 60 hours (but less than 100) of teaching per academic year. 
(a) Before the activity, I must seek permission from the Director-General of DG HR. 
(b) Before the activity, I must seek permission from my own Director-General. 
(c) The person I need to seek permission from depends on my grade. 
(d) Verbal agreement or an email from my line manager is enough as long as I use flexitime or 
annual leave to cover my absences.  
 
Question 3.  
The same university offers a net amount of 5,600€ for the teaching activity mentioned in the previous 
question.  
(a) I must declare the amount of 5,600€ in order to be able to accept it. 
(b) I must declare the amount of 5,600€ but I can only keep the maximum amount of 4,500€ 
and must turn the rest over to the Commission. 
(c) I can accept a reimbursement of max. 4,500€ and consequently I declare and accept 
4,500€. 
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(d) I declare only a part of the amount received, which I calculate by subtracting my travel, 
food, accommodation and other expenses linked to the trip from the 5,600€.  
 
Questions adapted from DG REGIO Ethics quiz 
 
Want to learn more?  
1.  Take the Ethics & Integrity training session (one day) or e-course (2 hours). 
The one-day course is mandatory for all newcomers, and equally useful for 
any other staff member.  
2.  Read about Ethics on MyIntraComm and download the necessary forms 
 
(e.g. circulation sheets) from our local intranet 
3.  Take a look at these previous articles on ethics:  
o  Acceptance of gifts 
o  External activities  
o  IDOC 2010 Annual Report 
Do you still have questions or need additional explanations? Contact one of our Ethics correspondents 
 
  Answer key for the quiz: 1b, 2c, 3b.  
 
 
 
 
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Edition n. 60 - Friday 13 January 2012 
 
 
On the horns of a dilemma: a practical approach to ethics 
 
As a Commission staff member you may or may not have had ethical dilemmas so far. If 
you had, why not try and find the correct answer to them? If you did not have any yet: 
are you sure you haven't missed anything regarding professional ethics? To give you a 
flavour of what an ethical dilemma can be:  
 
  You are a Commission official and a huge Beatles fan. In the evenings after work 
and on weekends, you do research on the Beatles and also are a member of a 
local Beatles association. You have grown to become a respected expert in the 
field, and sometimes get invited to give presentations or speeches on the 
Beatles. You are also in talks to publish a book on the topic and thinking of 
starting a blog. Is this allowed? 
 
  Your brother owns a small restaurant in Brussels and business is not going too well, so he has had to 
cut some staff to save money. Weekends, however, are still busy so you offer to help him out by 
manning the bar every Saturday evening for free. Is this just a family issue, where no permission from 
the Commission is needed? 
 
Want to know the right answers?  
REGISTER FOR THE ETHICS & INTEGRITY WORKSHOP IN OUR DG! 
 
On the horns of a dilemma: a practical approach to ethics 
 
Three sessions: 
 
27 January, 9:00 – 12:30 (EN) 
16 February, 14:00 – 17:00 (FR) 
15 March, 9:00 – 12:30 (EN) 
 
Where: Fortescue room, LX46 
Register in Syslog 
 
The course has been customised for our DGs, incorporating the input from our managers as to which cases are 
most relevant and likely to come up at DG HOME and DG JUST.  
 
Please note that these half-day workshops fulfil the DG HR requirement (one-day session) for 
newcomers!  
 
 
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Edition n. 69 - Friday 16 March 2012 
 
 
New guidelines on gifts and hospitality for 
Commission staff 
 
An official should not accept any favour, gift or payment from sources outside of the institution 
without the permission of the Appointing Authority (usually a Director-General). But does this 
correspond to reality? Is the acceptance of a small desk calendar or a cup of coffee really likely to 
create an impression of partiality? What about working lunches? Are there situations in which a 
refusal would be impolite or socially awkward? To date, information on these matters has been 
available, but not consolidated. The new guidelines seek to provide – in one single document – 
pragmatic and down-to-earth advice to staff. [Read the full article in Commission en direct – 09/3   
15/3/12] 
 
Read the Guidelines on gifts and hospitality 
 
Main elements of the guidelines 
 
Gifts 
Hospitality 
The general prohibition on accepting a gift  The general prohibition on accepting hospitality 
without authorisation remains. 
without authorisation remains. It can only be 
 
accepted if in line with or required by social, 
Principles: 
courtesy or diplomatic usage.  
 
 
  Gifts should only be accepted if in line with or  Principles:  
if required by social, courtesy or diplomatic 
 
usage. If such a gift is worth less than €50
  Prior permission of the Appointing Authority 
authorisation will be assumed to have been 
is presumed to be granted in cases of 
granted by the Appointing Authority and no 
hospitality in the form of lunches or dinners 
additional approval is needed. 
strictly linked to the function of the official 
 
and where approval has been sought. 
  Gifts of this nature which are valued between   
€50 and €150 require the explicit prior 
  Prior permission of the Appointing Authority 
permission of the Appointing Authority. 
is also presumed in respect of occasional 
 
offers of simple meals, refreshments, snacks, 
  No gift worth more than €150 should be 
etc. 
accepted as it will not be authorised. 
 
 
  In any other situation where the staff 
 
member considers that he/she should accept 
an offer of hospitality, the explicit prior 
approval of the Appointing Authority should 
be sought. 
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An  accumulation of even low value gifts or offers of hospitality can pose significant problems in 
regard to how the official or agent is perceived and should not therefore take place. 
 
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A new module gifts/hospitality in Sysper2 
 
A new module has recently been created in Sysper2 for 
requests of prior permission concerning gifts and 
hospitality. All requests should from now on be introduced 
through it. 
If the Appointing Authority refuses authorisation or if you 
refuse a gift, the latter should be returned to the source 
with an accompanying letter if possible, or to OIB: 
OIB.OS.1 - DAV 1 1/255. 
These presents, as well as the refused presents which 
could not be returned to sender, will be allocated to a 
charitable work chosen by OIB. 
 
More information regarding Ethics on the intranet  
See the Gifts/hospitality page on MyIntracomm 
 
Ethics correspondents in DGs HOME & JUST 
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