Sunday

18th Nov 2018

Barroso rejects 'discriminatory' criticism

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

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.”

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

Opinion

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. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Opinion

Dodgy regime lobbying is below the EU's radar

In Brussels, PR professionals and lobbying consultants are working for some of the world's most autocratic regimes. And we have no way of knowing for sure who they are, how much they are paid, or what they are up to.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us