17th Mar 2018

Barroso rejects 'discriminatory' criticism

  • Barroso: "I have never sought a privileged position but I would not expect to be discriminated against." (Photo:

Former European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has said that critics of his new job at the Goldman Sachs bank are "discriminatory".

In a letter seen by the Financial Times newspaper, Barroso says that any claims that his post "raises questions of integrity … are baseless and wholly unmerited. They are discriminatory against me and against Goldman Sachs.”

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The US investment bank announced in July that Barroso, who was for 10 years the EU commission chief, was to become non-executive chairman and adviser on Brexit.

The move prompted an outcry on potential conflict of interest. It also caused a political backlash because Goldman Sachs was seen as a villain in the eurozone crisis because it helped Greece to hide the real level of its debt.

Last Friday (9 September), Barroso's successor Jean-Claude Juncker decided to have the case examined by en ethics committee.

The commission, said Juncker in a letter to the EU Ombudsman, will send Barroso "a letter asking him to provide clarifications on his new responsibilities and the terms of reference of his contracts".

Juncker added that the former commission chief would also be treated as an ordinary lobbyist when he visits his former HQ.

In protocol terms, he would not get VIP access, but would have to get a visitor’s badge and undergo a security check.

“I have never sought a privileged position, but I would not expect to be discriminated against," Barroso said in the leaked letter.

Referring to the probe launched by Juncker, he said he "would like to understand how this decision has been taken, by whom and on what grounds."

"Not only are these actions discriminatory but they appear to be inconsistent with decisions taken in respect of other former members of the commission,” he added.

Barroso might have been thinking of the recent case of Neelie Kroes, one of his former commissioners, who joined the US car-sharing company Uber this year.

Kroes was commissioner for digital policies, a portfolio in which she dealt with the rise of Uber and other emerging internet companies.

EU launches probe into Barroso ethics

Jean-Claude Juncker told EU ombudsman that his predecessor will be treated as just another lobbyist and will be subject to scrutiny by a special ethics committee.

EU commission under fire over Barroso bank job

Barroso did not break any rules and the rules do not need changing, the EU commission said, after its former chief joined the bank that helped to break Greece at a turbulent time in Europe.


Barrosogate: What next?

Barrosogate is putting to the test an already weak oversight system of former EU commissioners and highlighting the limits of the lobbying regulatory regime.

Barroso had deeper ties to Goldman Sachs

The US bank made "confidential" suggestions on changes to EU policy changes during the former Commission chief's time in office, newly released documents reveal.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere