Independence and integrity

The MEB places importance to the integrity, impartiality and independence of its Board members and staff to guarantee the quality of its work and decisionmaking. 

The MEB has drawn up a Code of Conduct in order to help our staff in this respect. This Code of Conduct sets out the standards of conduct to be observed by all MEB staff, including members of the board and external experts, and including the Veterinary Medicinal Products Unit and the Novel Foods Unit.

The aim of the integrity policy is to point out to the Board members and staff that they must continually maintain and improve their integrity, impartiality and independence in order to guarantee the quality of the MEB's work and decision-making. Stakeholders and members of the public can hold the MEB and our staff to account for this policy. MEB staff employed by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) must also observe this Ministry’s codes of conduct.

Standards of good administrative conduct

Staff must observe standards of good administrative conduct when performing their duties and making decisions. Staff must also observe these standards vis-à-vis interested parties and the public. These standards are based on the principles of proper administration, the General Administrative Law Act and other legislation, such as the duty to respond to a query made by a member of the public within a reasonable period of time.

Staff must abide by the principle of equal treatment, avoid the abuse of power, and work in an impartial and independent manner. They also have a duty to respond to a query made by a member of the public within a reasonable period of time. 

Conflicts of interest

MEB staff, including members of the Board, members of the Young MEB and external experts, may not have any financial or other interests that might put their impartiality at risk. Staff must submit a declaration on their interests before their appointment as well as each subsequent year. They are personally responsible for the correctness of the interests stated. These interests are assessed on the grounds of their compatibility with work performed for the MEB.

When stating and assessing potential interests, it is irrelevant whether or not a person is actually influenced by an interest. We automatically assume that each interest may result in conflicting interests or will create the appearance of a conflict of interests.

Confidentiality and secrecy

The MEB carries out its work in a transparent manner, but at the same time, it is the MEB's duty to maintain confidentiality with respect to company-sensitive or privacy-sensitive information. For this reason, all MEB staff, including members of the board and external experts, have to sign a declaration of confidentiality on their appointment.

Confidentiality is an important factor in relations between the MEB, the EU and other government institutions and businesses. MEB staff have access to information of a commercially confidential nature. They are required to observe secrecy in all cases, in their private lives as well as at work. Staff must continue to observe secrecy even after they have terminated their employment with the MEB.

Policy on events and gifts

Staff of the MEB agency, including members of the board and external experts, may not accept any gifts or invitations for events in connection with their work for the MEB. Examples of these include presents, gifts, favours, gifts given as a token of appreciation in connection with speeches or presentations, and invitations for events primarily intended for relaxation such as sports events.

Nor may MEB staff use any objects, in connection with their work for the MEB, which are embellished with the logo of organisations or companies affiliated with the MEB’s duties.

In the event of invitations to perform external work such as publications, lectures, meetings and speeches whose content is related to the MEB’s own work, the senders of such invitations are a relevant factor in determining whether or not they are acceptable. For example, invitations given by non-profit organisations and institutions – such as government organisations – are generally acceptable. Conversely, invitations given by commercial organisations and pharmaceutical companies may not be accepted unless the company in question is a suitable forum for the propagation of the policies maintained by the MEB or by the Ministry of VWS.

The MEB has endorsed the policy on administrative costs by the Ministry of VWS (VWS Bestuurskostenbeleid, as determined in December 2014). With the exception of invitations from (European) governments or international partnerships in an EU context or other situations where the costs have already been covered (via the EU Commission or jointly), the MEB always covers its own costs for conferences, symposia and similar meetings, regardless of whether the participant is present during the entire activity or only for a part thereof.