Wednesday, March 3, 1999 Published at 16:59 GMT
Crackdown on Euro-sleaze
Financial fraud allegations have dogged the European Commission
The European Commission has approved a code of conduct for staff after allegations of widespread nepotism within the European Union's powerful bureaucracy.
Mr Santer promised to introduce the new rules after his team of commissioners narrowly survived a vote of censure by the European Parliament in January, amid allegations of cronyism and mismanagement.
It will lay down the law on what the 20 commissioners and their staff can and cannot do.
Commissioners will be prevented from:
MEPs wanted more
Many decisions have been put on hold until a new commission takes office next year - notably on the rules governing how many compatriots a commissioner is allowed to appoint to his or her personal staff.
Mr Santer's admission that commissioners must take personal responsibility for their failings represents a turnaround from his earlier insistence that the Commission stand or fall together.
The idea of individual accountability will be put to the test in two weeks' time, when a team inquiring into commissioners' conduct releases its report.
Mr Santer's reluctance to allow the censure of individual commissioners brought the Commission to the brink of resignation in January.
'Patience wearing thin'
British MEP Angela Billingham told the BBC they wanted to see openness and transparency as the trademark of the Commission rather than cronyism.
"It has been quite disgraceful in the past. We are furious about it."
Magda Alvoot, co-president of the Green group in the parliament, said: "I think that we need a code of conduct for the whole recruitment policy in the European Commission."