The new College of Commissioners gathered yesterday afternoon (Monday) in Luxembourg to take a solemn oath before the Court of Justice. By this oath, the Commissioners committed themselves, also in writing, to respect the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and to carry out their responsibilities in complete independence and in the general interest of the EU.
As an expression of the diversity of EU, the Commissioners took the oath in their national languages. The responsibilities and duties of Commission members are laid down in Art. 17 of the Treaty on European Union and Art. 245 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The oath reads as follows:
I solemnly undertake:
• to respect the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in the fulfillment of all my duties;
• to be completely independent in carrying out my responsibilities, in the general interest of the Union;
• in the performance of my tasks, neither to seek nor to take instructions from any Government or from any other institution, body, office or entity;
• to refrain from any action incompatible with my duties or the performance of my tasks.
I formally note the undertaking of each Member State to respect this principle and not to seek to influence Members of the Commission in the performance of their tasks.
I further undertake to respect, both during and after my term of office, the obligation arising therefrom, and in particular the duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after I have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits.
In contrast, members of the European Parliament are not obliged to take a similar oath or pledge of alliance to fundamental rights and European values at the opening of the parliament. The current rules of procedures of the parliament only require the parliament to verify the “credentials” of newly elected members and that the MEPs should submit an income and asset declaration.
In EU member states, extremist and racist parties that threaten stability and democracy are banned but it is up to the member states if they want to allow such parties running in the European elections. Some countries require their parliamentarians and new citizens to swear an oath of allegiance to their constitutions.