Over 75,000 European Union staff already have signed a new petition demanding the former EU President José Manuel Barroso should be stripped of his pension because he took a job with international financial services company Goldman Sachs.
The petition claims that Barroso is guilty of ‘bringing the European Union into disrepute’ rather than just being greedy.
The petition was organised by a group of EU officials which accuses Barroso of morally reprehensible behaviour for taking the job at Goldman Sachs. His move sparked anger in the corridors of the EU whose staff blame the US firm for the sub-prime mortgage mis-selling scandal and lending money to the Greek government before the country’s debt disaster exploded.
The bank later defended theses Greek currency swaps “as entirely legitimate debt management transactions” that were in line with EU rules.
The petitioners claimed also that Barroso’s appointment “is a further example of the irresponsible revolving-door practices, which are highly damaging to the EU institutions and, even if not illegal, are morally reprehensible.”
The petition will be presented to the current leaders of the EU by the end of September.
Georges Vlandas, president of the Union for Unity, told the Guardian that while the political future of the EU was in question, senior officials had a responsibility to set an example of ethical behaviour.
Barroso, a Maoist in his student days who went on to become Portugal’s prime minister is advising Goldman Sachs’ clients on post-Brexit matters.
The group of EU officials that launched the petition said they were disappointed with the lack of response from EU leaders, “We had this gut feeling that what Barroso did was wrong and that it was the job of President Juncker to condemn him forcefully. But there was a clear attempt to make this a non-issue.”
The petitioners believe Barroso is in breach of EU rules which state that ex-commissioners must act with “integrity and discretion” when they leave office.
The European Court of Justice has the power to remove EU pensions and may do so in Barrros’s case if it can be shown that he has acted with a lack of integrity, not just greed.
A spokesman from Goldman Sachs said that Barroso will not be making any comment but said that as Barroso has left the presidency more than 18 months before he took up his job at Goldman Sachs, the company ahs broken no rules.
“José Manuel’s experience and advice in this time of uncertainty will be extremely valuable to our clients and their reaction to his appointment at Goldman Sachs has been very encouraging.”