According to a press release that came out today, the European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has invited citizens, interest groups, and other organizations to submit comments on a draft statement of principles that should guide the conduct of EU civil servants. The draft “public service principles” take account of best practice in the Member States, established through a consultation with the European Network of Ombudsmen. Comments can be submitted until 15 May 2011 and will be considered before the principles are finalized.

Explaining the reasons for proposing a statement of public service principles the Ombudsman writes: “The statement has been drafted with a view to making clear certain fundamental values, which the behaviour of EU civil servants should reflect. By setting out those values clearly, the statement aims to promote citizens’ trust in the European civil service and the EU institutions that it serves. The draft statement is intended to complement existing instruments, including the Staff Regulations, the Financial Regulation, and the European Code of Good Administrative Behaviour, which contain general rules and principles governing the behaviour of civil servants. It will help civil servants to focus on the spirit in which they should apply the detailed internal rules of EU institutions governing matters such as the acceptance of gifts and conflicts of interest. It will thus promote good administration and make maladministration less likely to occur.”

The draft publicized for consultation is not very long; it enunciates the following public service principles that should guide EU civil servants: commitment to the EU and its citizens, integrity, objectivity, respect for others, and transparency.

More information on the public consultation, including links to the report on the consultation of national ombudsmen is available here.