In 2017, at the general assembly, the EAPC adopted the following Code of Conduct:
The European Association of Political Consultants (EAPC) is a voluntary association of professional practitioners who are actively involved in political consultation and communication for their clients at all levels of politics, economic and public affairs. Members regard their activity as a fundamental contribution to political communications and campaigns’ consulting in democratic processes. In so doing, they abide by all legal provisions and regulations of their respective countries, as well as any national professional organisation with whom they work. Through their work they will, at all times, foster the democratic principles of free speech, freedom of information, the independence of the media and the protection of personal rights. Transparency, integrity and respect for, and fostering of, democratic principles are indispensable requirements for every EAPC member. The EAPC and its members should also foster the professional and ethical responsibilities of their employees (where they exist), thus supporting at the same time the integrity of the political consultancy and communications sector.
Mandatory principles for members
Every member of the European Association of Political Consultants and the firms they represent, undertake to comply with the following principles:
EAPC members perform their duties and tasks in the spirit of complete transparency towards their clients. All assignments which are agreed in writing shall have clear definitions with regard to the work to be performed including the fee payable for such services. EAPC members shall under no circumstances conclude any contracts containing a guarantee of success, and shall, in the execution of their work, not mislead or deceive by providing false or incomplete statements.
EAPC members guarantee their clients strict confidentiality of all information required for the performance of each assignment.
EAPC members commit themselves to avoiding conflict of interest and observing industry exclusivity towards their clients for the duration of each assignment. They shall not, in the course of such period, accept any assignments from direct competitors including political opponents during the same campaign and at the same level of governance – unless those different clients are working in tandem with each other on the same side in a referendum or as part of a party political alliance.
4. Challenging unfair influence
As political consultants and public affairs experts in the execution of their professional tasks and duties, EAPC members must refrain from exerting undue or inappropriate influence on officeholders or the general public. Should a client submit such a request to them, they must refuse this assignment.
5. Fairness and honesty
EAPC members must regard fairness as an indispensable, non-negotiable and fundamental attitude. This attitude shall determine all areas and aspects of their daily business. EAPC members must also refrain from subordinating the truth and will uphold underlying standards of honesty and common decency.
6. Promoting respect and combatting discrimination
The work performed by EAPC members is, in every way, characterised by their respect towards their clients, colleagues, competitors and suppliers. EAPC members commit themselves to avoiding any form of discrimination in the execution of their duties, tasks and campaigns, abiding by the relevant discrimination laws of the country in which they are working, including the areas of gender, origin, religion and sexual orientation.
7. Democracy and openness
In the execution of their duties and work, EAPC members shall commit themselves permanently to promote and support fundamental democratic values and not to subvert or weaken these values in any form. Through their work, they must support an open, fair interaction with major issues, thus motivating people to dedicate themselves to the values of democracy.
8. Opposing political extremism and avoiding libellous or slanderous personal denigration
EAPC members will always oppose political extremism in all its manifestations. Members will also never engage in libellous, or slanderous, personal denigration of any individual during the course of an assignment. Any campaigns aiming at the competitors’ discredit through defamatory or abusive communication infringing the personal sphere of life as well as any fomenting of hatred and incitement must be refused by EAPC members. EAPC members must dedicate themselves to convey achievements, projects and visions in the course of communication exchanged with and for the client in a respectful way. In the fulfilment and execution of their tasks and duties, EAPC members must always refer to the EAPC’s principles and scrutinise all potential assignments and ensure that they are in accordance with the strict standards of the EAPC.
Violations of the Code of Conduct
Any violation of one or more principles set out herein may constitute the basis of Code of Conduct proceedings. Such proceedings may lead to a written warning and/or expulsion from the EAPC. Any violation of the Code of Conduct may be reported in writing by any other EAPC member, as well as political decision-makers, representatives of the media or civil society, by indicating one’s own name and describing the misconduct precisely. Anonymous reporting is not permissible. Any reporting may be submitted via e-mail to [email protected] or in writing to the EAPC. Each notice shall be dealt with by the EAPC Code of Conduct Committee, which consists of three Past Presidents of the Association appointed by the EAPC General Assembly. The members concerned shall be notified of the decision in writing. In the event of an objection, the EAPC Board shall take the final decision. The decision shall, additionally, be published in anonymised form on the EAPC website at www.eapc.eu.
Entering into Force
This EAPC Code of Conduct shall enter into force upon its approval by the General Assembly on 28th May 2017. New members may only be accepted upon their presentation of a declaration of consent. Existing members shall be required to sign the EAPC Code of Conduct within three months from its entering into force in order to continue their EAPC membership.
Declaration of consent
As an EAPC member, I hereby express my consent to the Association’s Code of Conduct as a whole and in its entirety, and shall abide by and observe the spirit and the letter of each of its individual principles mentioned above to the best of my ability and knowledge in the course of the performance of my tasks and duties to be fulfilled.