Commission Provides Guidance on Conflicts of Interest
On 7 April 2021, the European Commission published a guidance on the avoidance and management of conflicts of interest under the new 2018 Financial Regulation (FR). The FR, which entered into force on 2 August 2018, has strengthened the measures to protect the EU’s financial interests. Strengthened rules on conflicts of interest are now explicitly extended to Member States’ authorities (regardless of the Member States’ internal governance arrangements) and any person implementing any of the EU funds under shared management. In addition, the definition of conflicts of interest was broadened, now covering “any other direct or indirect personal interest.” The guidance pursues the following objectives:
- Promoting a uniform interpretation and application of the rules on avoidance of conflicts of interest for financial actors and staff of the EU institutions involved in implementing, monitoring and controlling the EU budget under direct/indirect/shared management;
- Raising awareness among Member States’ authorities, holders of public office (including members of government) and any other person involved in implementing the EU budget under shared management about the applicable provisions set out in the FR 2018 and the Public Procurement Directive with regard to the avoidance of conflicts of interest;
- Raising awareness among external partners involved in implementing the EU budget under indirect management about the applicable provisions set out in the FR 2018 with regard to the avoidance of conflicts of interest.
An own chapter provides a list of suggestions and recommendations for measures that could be put in place to avoid and manage conflict of interest situations.