Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Yesterday (Monday) the European Commission refused to roundly condemn the former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso’s decision to take up employment with the merchant bank Goldman Sachs. The company helped Greece massage its finances before entering the eurozone. This course of action caused the awful cataclysm which the country has suffered since 2008.
“Former commissioners are obliged to disclose professional commitments and positions which they hold for a period of eighteen months (after their offices terminate)” stressed the Commission spokesman, Margaritis Schinas.
After this period of prudence, commissioners are only bound by obligations of discretion, honesty and professional secrecy.
Mr Barroso respected Euopean rules which are “very strict, especially when compared to those of member states or other international organisations,” said the spokesman.
The former European Commission President telephoned his successor to alert him that he was joining the American merchant bank, considered to be one of the players in the 2008 financial crisis and to be inextricably linked to the serious predicament which Greece then faced.
Questioned several times by journalists yesterday, Mr Schinas indicated that Jean-Claude Juncker “did not wish to comment on his predecessor’s decision.”
He left it to journalists to comment upon and analyse the choices made by Mr Barroso.