Towards an EU Ethics Body

52 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2022

Date Written: November 20, 2020


This paper provides the first detailed legal and policy analysis of the EU ethics system existing within and across EU institutions.

It focuses on both substantive ethics standards - applicable before, while in office and after - and their oversight institutional systems, via an institution-by-institution examination.

After identifying the major shortcoming of the current system, it ascertains - based on a comparative analysis - the ideal ethics system for the European Union .

To verify the legal feasibility of this newly-designed EU ethics system under EU law, it offers a detailed analysis aimed at identifying its legal basis, legal instrument(s) and major legal issues raised by such new EU independent body. It demonstrates that it is legally feasible under EU law to set up such a body by pooling together existing monitoring, investigatory, sanctioning as well as advisory powers.

Unlike any of the existing EU ethics bodies, the newly established body would be, first of all, independent, and, second, competent to ensure the enforcement – through investigations and sanctions – of unethical behaviour committed by both appointed/elected members and staff.

Keywords: Ethics, Integrity, conflict of interest, revolving door, EU ethics, EU law, Statute of EU officials, MEPs

JEL Classification: K19, K33

Suggested Citation

Alemanno, Alberto, Towards an EU Ethics Body (November 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Alberto Alemanno (Contact Author)

HEC Paris ( email )

1 Rue de la libération


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