Tuesday

18th Jun 2019

Barroso faces questions over domestic scandal

  • The donation was made shortly before Mr Barroso became prime minister in 2002 (Photo: EUobserver)

European lawmakers want to see European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso grilled over a scandal involving funds to his Social Democratic Party in Portugal – something also likely to fall under a criminal investigation by the Portuguese state prosecutor.

"These findings cannot be dismissed as an internal problem. [They] test Barroso's integrity and independence", a Belgian green MEP Bart Staes told the Financial Times in response to the scandal.

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

Doubts centre around the payment made by construction and engineering company Somague to the Social democratic Party (PSD) at the time when Mr Barroso led the party. He was elected president of the PSD in 1999 and became prime minister in April 2002.

According to the FT, Somague paid the social democrats €233,000 for services provided to the party by a public relations company. Portugal's constitutional court ruled in June this year that such a payment exceeded the legal limit set for private donations to political parties.

A new shadow of suspicion has fallen on the case since the June ruling. The PSD's finance director – now public works minister – reportedly petitioned the state prosecutor's office in favour of the construction company in the adjudication of a motorway construction and operation contract.

The contract had been awarded by a previous socialist government to a consortium competing with Somague, which challenged the decision.

The former PSD's general secretary Jose Luis Arnaut has accepted "objective responsibility" for the funding, but claims he was not aware of the facts at the time.

Some point out that Mr Barroso heading the party at the time should also take responsibility, with members of the European Parliament urging him to reveal what precisely he knew about the payment.

The commission president's spokesperson declined to comment on the case, underlining that "this is a national issue". She added, however, Mr Barroso was ready to answer any questions the Portuguese authorities and MEPs might raise.

Investigation

The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of

Scientists say there is no acceptable dose to avoid brain damage. Its use is banned in several European countries. Yet its residues are found in fruit baskets, on dinner plates, and in human urine samples from all over Europe.

Agenda

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

A summit in Belgian capital this week will host heads of government and state to discuss top EU institutional posts. But before they meet, the jockeying for the Commission presidency will have already started among the European political groups.

EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit

Political bosses of the European Parliament's groups, hoping to assemble a majority coalition, are eyeing putting forward an political agenda - and possibly a name for the commission top job - before EU leaders gather in Brussels.

News in Brief

  1. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July
  2. Austria's Strache will not take up EU parliament seat
  3. Tanker attacks pose questions for EU on Iran deal
  4. Johnson skips TV debate for UK prime ministership
  5. Slovakia's first female president takes office
  6. Irish immigration officers flew back business class
  7. Catalan MEP denied taking seat in European Parliament
  8. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds

Agenda

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

A summit in Belgian capital this week will host heads of government and state to discuss top EU institutional posts. But before they meet, the jockeying for the Commission presidency will have already started among the European political groups.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  2. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  3. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  4. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  5. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  6. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  7. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  8. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us