Rules for EU civil servants

Members of the European civil service are subject to a number of rights and obligations governing their actions and behaviour in the exercise of their professional activities.

These rules are contained in the Staff Regulations and the Code of Good Administrative Behaviour, annexed to the Commission’s Rules of Procedure. They include potential conflicts of interest, gifts and honours received, external activities while working for the EU and employment after having worked for the EU.

European Commissioners have specific rules that apply to them.


Citizens can file a complaint if they consider that the European Commission has breached the public service principles set out in the Code of Good Administrative Behaviour.

Code of Good Administrative Behaviour and complaints

Conflicts of interest

EU staff is obliged to be independent, impartial, objective and loyal. Any personal interest or any interest in any business or organisation that could compromise the respect of these obligations must be declared immediately.

Outside activities covered by these rules, paid or unpaid, must first be approved. Staff members must also inform the institution for which they work if:

  • their spouse is employed and where; or
  • a personal interest that might impair their independence or any other conflict of interest occurs, in the course of performance of their duties.

Receiving gifts

Members of the EU staff may not accept gifts or favours from third parties without obtaining prior permission, unless the value of the gift does not exceed €50 and there is no accumulation.

After leaving office

If a member of the EU staff wishes to leave his or her institution and begin a new job within 2 years, he or she must inform the Commission in order to obtain prior authorisation.

If that activity is related to work carried out during their last 3 years in service and might conflict with the legitimate interests of the Commission, the Commission may forbid it or approve it, subject to any necessary conditions.

Senior officials are in principle prohibited, in the 12 months after leaving service, from engaging in lobbying or other advocacy vis-à-vis their former institution on matters for which they were responsible during their last 3 years in service.


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