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MEPs call on Juncker to act against Barroso over Goldman Sachs appointment – Carthy

26 July, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Letter to Juncker

Dozens of MEPs have signed an open letter initiated and authored by Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker calling for action against José Manuel Barroso over his appointment to Goldman Sachs. Thirty-six MEPs, including from the EPP, ALDE, Socialists, Greens, EFDD and GUE/NGL parliamentary groups, co-signed the letter.

Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said:

“I’m pleased to see that the anger over the appointment of former Commission president José Manuel Barroso as an advisor and non-executive chairperson of Goldman Sachs International extends right across the political spectrum in the European Parliament. This appointment is simply unacceptable.

“Mr Barroso was President of the European Commission for a decade, from 2004 to 2014. He led the EU during the period of the global financial crisis, and shaped the EU’s austerity-driven response to it, with devastating effects for millions of European citizens. Now, after serving the bare minimum of the 18-month cooling-off period, he has stepped into a plum role in one of the institutions that contributed to this crisis. 

“This appointment will simply confirm the cynical view held by millions of European citizens of the unhealthy relationship between the corporate lobby and officialdom. It brings all of the European institutions into disrepute.”

Carthy continued: “As MEPs we are calling on Mr Juncker to take action against Barroso under the terms of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which states that Commissioners must act with ‘integrity and discretion’ when accepting post-term appointments. 

“Barroso’s acceptance of this role demonstrates a total disregard for his obligations under the Treaty. It also demonstrates that the 18-month cooling-off period in the Code of Conduct for Commissioners is manifestly inadequate. We agree with the views expressed by the European Ombudsman, who has called for a revision of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners and the creation of sanctions. 

“In our letter, we as MEPs urged Mr Juncker to use the provisions of the Treaty in order to strip Mr Barroso of his future pension and any related benefits by making an application to the Court of Justice. We also called on the Commission to amend the Code of Conduct for Commissioners in order to extend the cooling-off period from 18 months to five years in order to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest.

"I hope that Mr Juncker takes heed of the breadth and depth of anger among MEPs from across the EU and across the parliamentary groups over this appointment and takes appropriate action.”

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