European affairs professionals are a vital part of the democratic process, acting as a link between the world of business and civil society and European policy makers. As such, these professionals must undertake to observe the highest of professional standards.
SEAP, the Society of European Affairs Professionals, aims to provide guidance thereon, by setting high standards. The SEAP code of conduct is the result of thorough discussions by SEAP members. It commits members to the rules laid down therein, sets standards and acts as a benchmark for all European affairs professionals and encourages third parties to respond to SEAP with their views on the code. In their dealings with the EU institutions, European affairs professionals shall:
Article I – General Principles
(1) Act with honesty and integrity at all times, conducting their business in a fair and professional manner. They shall treat all others – including colleagues and competitors, as well as staff, officials or members of the EU institutions – with respect and civility at all times.
(2) European affairs professionals shall not exert improper influence on staff, officials or members of the EU institutions.
Article 2 – Transparency and Openness
(1) maintain the highest standards of professionalism in conducting their work with the EU institutions. When dealing with the EU institutions they shall be open and transparent in declaring their name, organisation or company, and the interest they represent.
(2) neither intentionally misrepresent their status nor the nature of their inquiries to the EU institutions nor create any false impression in relation thereto;
(3) take all reasonable steps to ensure the truth and accuracy of all statements made or information provided by them to the EU institutions;
(4) not disseminate false or misleading information either knowingly or recklessly, and exercise proper care to avoid doing so inadvertently. They shall not obtain any information from the EU institutions by illicit or dishonest means.
Article 3 – Confidentiality
(1) honour confidential information and embargoes and always abide by the rules and conventions for the obtaining, distribution and release of all EU documentation;
(2) not sell for profit to third parties copies of documents obtained from the EU institutions.
Article 4 – Conflicts of interest
(1) avoid any professional conflicts of interest. Should a conflict of interest arise, the SEAP member must take swift action in order to resolve it.
Article 5 – Employment of former EU personnel
(1) when employing former staff, officials or members of the EU institutions, take all the necessary measures to comply with the rules and regulations laid down by the EU institutions in that respect, in particular with regard to confidentiality.
Article 6 – Financial integrity
(1) not offer to give, either directly or indirectly, any financial inducement to any official, member of staff or members of the EU institutions, except for normal business hospitality.
SEAP members shall uphold this code and all internal related procedures. In this respect, they shall co-operate fully with fellow members.
SEAP members agree not to engage in any practice or conduct that could be in any way detrimental to the reputation of SEAP or public affairs professionals in general.
Signatories accept that SEAP can apply a range of sanctions in case of non-compliance, ranging from a verbal warning to expulsion.