Friday

24th Nov 2017

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.

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.

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.

UK has 10 days to make Brexit progress

British prime minister Theresa May was told to make progress on the financial settlement, and Ireland, before talks can move to the next phase.

Tusk: Poland risks harming EU appeal

EU Council president said anti-democratic 'interventions' in Poland and the US could harm Western soft power in its contest with Russia.

Agenda

Africa and EU summit This WEEK

Billed as a new partnership, the EU and Africa summit in Abidjan will focus on youth and jobs. The gathering takes place against the backdrop of migratory flows towards Europe and reports of open slave auctions in Libya.

Trade talks could only start post-Brexit

Substantive negotiations on an EU-UK free trade deal would only start once Brexit is a reality. The main issue could be how much the UK would want to retain elements of the single market, and what the EU agrees to.

UK has 10 days to make Brexit progress

British prime minister Theresa May was told to make progress on the financial settlement, and Ireland, before talks can move to the next phase.

EU still giving gas projects 'fast-track' status

The European Commission published on Friday a list of projects of common interest, which receive preferential treatment. Environmental lobbyists accuse the Commission of trying to fool the public with number games.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Germany remains 'active' in EU
  2. Work with Israel, Egypt on gas exploration, says Commission
  3. Only seven EU states have 'advanced' stage climate plans
  4. EU dashes integration hopes of eastern countries
  5. EU approves joint Irish electricity scheme
  6. German president to launch 'Grand Coalition' talks
  7. Irish opposition 'threatens national interest', says minister
  8. SPD drops opposition to grand coalition in Germany

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  4. European Friends of ArmeniaPresident Sargsyan Joined EuFoA Honorary Council Inaugural Meeting
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  6. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  8. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  9. EPSUStudy Finds TUNED and Employers in Central Governments Most Representative
  10. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  11. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  12. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition