The outrage over former EC president Durão Barroso’s smooth move into the world of high finance continues to reverberate, with over 52 Euro MPs now petitioning EU ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, affirming that the millionaire appointment is not simply morally unacceptable (click here), it also violates community rules.
Leading the challenge is Italian left-winger Barbara Spinelli, whose father Altiero is considered to have been one of the EU’s founders.
Signatories include Portugal’s radical Left Bloc firebrand Marisa Matias, as well as controversial Socialist campaigner Ana Gomes.
Indeed Gomes has delivered a searing account of what she believes lies behind Barroso’s appointment as Goldman Sachs’ non-executive president in national weekly Sol – suggesting that the former Portuguese PM who quit his top job leading a PSD government to take up the reins of power at the European Commission has always aligned himself with what she considers to be “banksters”: gangster bankers.
“Durão Barroso is a person who, as the host of the Lajes summit (involving the then US president George Bush, former UK prime minister Tony Blair and Spanish premier José Maria Aznar) had clear political responsibilities in the invasion of Iraq,” she added context. “He knew perfectly well (then) that he was acting on the basis of fraudulent information. He knew he was violating international law, but he had no scruples in what he did, politically.
“We are talking about a person who was prime minister of Portugal and who had direct intervention also in the purchase of the submarines (click here).
“He was (also) responsible for the whole process of Portuguese collaboration with the so-called torture flights of the CIA. Thus, I am not in the least bit surprised, with all these issues, that he has ended up with the interests that he has always served, the unscrupulous world of large financial capital hell-bent on financial deregulation.”
With Marisa Matias adding that Barroso’s appointment “is completely shameful. (He) waited for the end of his 18 months (the statutory cooling off period before former EU politicians are allowed to take up new jobs) to immediately collect his reward for the good job he did for Goldman Sachs and the financial markets by devastating the lives of millions of European citizens with austerity”, she stressed that the appointment is “a good example of why the European Union got to this appalling state”.
Martin Banks, in the EU’s Parliament magazine, adds that only three months ago “the US department of justice found Goldman Sachs guilty of knowingly misleading investors between 2005 and 2007 in an act that tipped the economy into recession, causing billions of dollars in losses…”
Thus the MEPs’ appeal that rules regulating the activities of outgoing top politicians should change. They should no longer be able to take up lucrative appointments through so-called ‘revolving doors’ – and there are even those who are calling for Barroso to be deprived of his full pension when he reaches 65.
Martin Banks claims the French Socialist delegation of the European Parliament calling for this added censure “say the penalty is possible” under the same treaty that MEPs are citing in their letter to the EU Ombudsman.
All in all, Emily O’Reilly has an extremely hot potato to consider over the summer holidays, while Barroso himself is described as being “not immediately available for comment”.