Unanimously approved by the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs 15 May 2018 and revised in the light of decisions taken by the Committee on 10 December 2018. [Version updated on January 2021]
1. Under paragraph 17 of the Code of Conduct for members of the Parliamentary Assembly, PACE members are required to complete and submit a declaration of interests at the opening of each annual session. The declaration is made in good faith, under the sole responsibility of the member concerned and in full knowledge of the Code of Conduct for members of the Parliamentary Assembly. It is certified true and correct.
2. In keeping with the general aim of strengthening the duty of integrity, accountability and transparency for Assembly members and respect for the general principles of behaviour which the Assembly expects of its members (paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct), the system of submitting and publishing declarations of interests is designed to provide relevant information on any interest which, on account of its nature, scope or intensity, could reasonably be regarded as liable to influence or be seen as influencing members’ actions, words or voting decisions, and which could help to identify any actual or potential conflicts of interest in connection with the exercise of the parliamentary mandate in the Assembly.
3. The declaration of interests must not lead to any invasion of members’ privacy. It should not deter them from becoming involved in any civil, political or parliamentary activities. Under no circumstances is the declaration of interests intended to prevent Assembly members from applying for or holding particular positions. The possibility for a committee to remove a rapporteur is in keeping with paragraph 3 of the Code of conduct for rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly (and with Article 3 of the provisions on transparency and the declaration of members’ interests).
4. To simplify the procedure, declarations are made on line (with the information being entered in an electronic form). Access to the application is personalised and protected. Each member has an individual account, the user name for which is their private email address. Members’ email addresses must remain valid and be retained for the duration of their term in the Assembly.
5. Some fields in the form are pre-filled (surname, first name, national delegation).
6. In the interests of transparency, declarations must be completed in one of the two official languages of the Council of Europe, English or French. The information given in the form must be in one of these languages. Only the names of enterprises, corporations, institutions, bodies, associations, etc. may be in the original language.
When should the declaration of interests be submitted?
7. Each member of the Assembly is required to submit a declaration of interests annually, by the last day of February that year (declarations of interests 2021 should be submitted by 28 February 2021 at the latest).
8. Assembly members’ whose credentials are ratified during the session (during the year, following parliamentary elections or vacancies through death or resignation) are required to submit a declaration of interests by the end of the month which follows ratification of their delegation’s credentials by the Assembly (e.g. 31 May 2021 for new members whose credentials are ratified at the April session, 30 June 2021 for those whose credentials are ratified at the May meeting of the Standing Committee, etc.).
Who shall submit a declaration of interests?
9. All members of the Assembly, whether representatives or substitutes, shall submit a declaration of interests. Any parliamentarian who is a member of the Assembly at the starting date of the annual declaration of interests’ process is required to submit a declaration of interests as long as, on the date by which the declaration is to be submitted, he or she is still a member of the Assembly.
10. Assembly members who, following their resignation or parliamentary elections in their country of origin, leave the Assembly before the deadline for submission has expired, will not have to file a declaration for the year in question.
11. The declaration of interests’ form covers 10 categories of interests. The declaration of professional activities, employment positions, offices and mandates must be such as to enable the extent of the influence exercised by an individual to be assessed and any possible conflict of interests identified.
Sections A, B and C
12. The three sections – A, B and C – cover various professional situations:
Which occupations, employment positions, activities, offices and mandates must be declared?
13. Members must disclose any occupations, employment positions, activities, offices and mandates, remunerated or otherwise, exercised or held in the public sector or on behalf of any natural or legal person governed by private law, whether in their own country or abroad. Where applicable, they should also specify that they are pensioners or unemployed.
14. Members are required to declare any occupations, employment positions, activities, offices or mandates exercised or held at the time of submitting their declaration, and also any exercised or held during the two calendar years preceding the current year of office in the PACE, indicating the date on which these activities or offices ended, where applicable. For the 2021 declaration, members will have to provide the information for the years 2021, 2020 and 2019.
15. Members are required to declare any occupations, employment positions, activities, offices or mandates exercised or held on a permanent, regular, intermittent or occasional basis.
16. Members are required to indicate the name of the enterprise, corporation, institution, body, organisation, association, etc. Members should give the full name and not the acronym or abbreviation, if any.
17. National parliamentary mandates (MP, senator, national councillor, member of parliament, etc.), as well as local parliamentary mandates (mayor, member or chair of a local or regional council, etc.) shall also be declared.
18. The following need not be declared:
How should the amount of income and remuneration be declared?
19. Members should declare the annual amounts of income and remuneration for each activity pursued:
20. With regard to the declaration of income and allowances related to national and local parliamentary mandates:
21. In view of the duty of confidentiality that applies to certain professions (e.g. lawyers), members are not required to give the names of their clients.
22. The following should be declared in section D:
23. Members need only indicate the amount of income and remuneration if the activity, mandate or mission in question is remunerated. If no amount is specified, the activity will be deemed to be unpaid.
24. In Section E, members should indicate the names of any friendship groups, parliamentary clubs, interparliamentary relations groups or thematic parliamentary intergroups to which they belong, which they have joined or in which they are involved, and in what capacity (president, vice-president, secretary, member).
25. Members are required to declare any groups to which they belong at the time of submitting their declarations. They may also declare any groups to which they belonged in the past, if they so wish.
26. Any visits or missions undertaken in this connection should be declared in section H. Any gifts or benefits received in this connection should be declared in section G.
27. In section F, members should declare any support, whether financial or in terms of staff or material, granted over the previous calendar year in connection with the member’s political and parliamentary activities by third parties, whether natural or legal persons, together with information about those persons’ identity: financial support, sponsorship, donations and legacies, loans and credit agreements, support in kind if it is provided free of charge or at preferential rates (such as advisory, information or communication services; receptions and events; provision of staff; supply of office space or equipment).
28. Resources provided by the national parliament or the political party to which the member belongs (whether by the party organisation at national, local or constituency level) need not be declared.
29. Members must disclose the identity of the donor (name, position or capacity and address, and type of support). They do not have to indicate the amount or value of the support, or the dates when it was received.
30. Assembly members are asked not to accept any gifts or benefits whose nature and/or value is not strictly within the bounds of parliamentary protocol or practices regarding hospitality.
31. Any gifts, benefits and hospitality with a value in excess of €200 must be declared:
32. Invitations to upcoming events (e.g. to a sporting or cultural event due to take place after the deadline for submitting declarations of interests) may be declared in advance.
33. Members must disclose the identity of the donor (name, position or capacity, and address) and the nature of the gift or benefit, including a description and the date when it was received. They do not have to indicate the value of the gift.
34. The following need not be declared, regardless of their value:
35. Members are required to declare the following in section H:
36. Trip or visit means any travel undertaken in the course of a member’s parliamentary duties, for professional purposes or for personal or family reasons.
37. Members must disclose the identity of the donor (name, position or capacity, and address) and the nature of the expenses covered, including a description of the benefit and the date and place when it was accepted. They are not required to indicate the amount of these expenses or their value, but they may do so if they wish.
38. The following need not be declared:
39. In the section entitled “Miscellaneous”, members are required to declare any interest which does not clearly fall into one of the categories listed and which the member wishes to mention because it might reasonably be considered to cast doubt on the independent, impartial and objective exercise of their parliamentary mandate and be seen as likely to influence the member’s actions, words or voting decisions.
40. In this section, members are required to disclose any material, financial, economic, commercial or other interests, whether professional or personal, which they consider relevant and which concern their spouses, children, parents, staff, advisors or parliamentary assistants, and which, in their opinion, might influence the performance of their parliamentary duties.
41. The term “spouse and other family members” includes the member’s spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner and the parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces of the member or of the member’s spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner.
42. Members must specify the capacity of the individual concerned and their relationship to themselves. They must also indicate the nature of the interest considered to be relevant and include a description of it (e.g. professional activity, existence of a managerial position in a private or public enterprise, NGO or association, etc.).
43. In order to avoid any undue interference with individuals’ privacy, members can choose not to disclose the person’s identity (name of the spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner, other family members, or staff). Data subjects shall be informed and give their consent.
44. In section K, members have the option of providing any additional information, explanations or clarification which they consider appropriate.
45. Declarations of interests must be validated on the terms and conditions set out in paragraphs 7 and 8. They will be posted on the Assembly website under the personal profile of the member concerned.
46. A member’s declaration will be removed from the Assembly website at the end of the session following the end of their term of office in the Assembly. The declarations are archived and kept for five years at the Table Office.
47. Any member wishing to correct or amend a declaration that has already been published for the current year may edit the content of their declaration. The new version of the declaration will be published according to the usual procedure. The previous published declarations will be visible on the site.
48. No ex-ante checks are carried out to verify the content of the declarations submitted or the accuracy of the information provided. Once the deadline for submission has passed, the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly checks whether the declarations of interests have been submitted on time and compiles a list of any members who have not submitted a declaration. This list is made public on the Assembly's website.
49. Any member who has failed or refused to submit a declaration, failed to declare a relevant interest or submitted an untruthful declaration will automatically be deprived of the right to be appointed rapporteur or to act as a committee rapporteur, and to be a member of an ad hoc election observation committee.
50. A sanction continues to apply until the deadline for submitting the next declaration of interests. Submitting the declaration after that time-limit does not automatically end the sanction.
51. In accordance with paragraph 4 of the Code of Conduct for members of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly is responsible for providing guidance on all matters covered by this explanatory note on the implementation of members’ duty to submit a declaration of interests.
52. For any request for information on the contents of the declarations, a clarification on the information to provide, or on the procedure to follow, members are invited to contact by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any technical problem, members may contact: email@example.com.