Public Affairs Networking
Barroso has deeper ties to Goldman Sachs

Several EU media outlets reveal that former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso had closer contacts with Goldman Sachs during his tenure as Commission chief than he has previously admitted.

Yesterday, Público reported that Barroso attended unofficial meetings with Goldman Sachs during his term at the Commission. According to messages sent by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in 2013, the meetings between the bank and Mr Barroso were “very productive”. Público also reported that Goldman executives were happy to suggest changes to EU policies “on a confidential basis”, suggestions which Barroso’s cabinet read “with great interest”.

Talouselämä recalls that President  Juncker criticised Mr Barroso’s appointment, emphasising that Goldman Sachs was involved in the financial crisis of 2007-2009. L’Echo, Tageblatt and Tageszeitung add that Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas stated yesterday, in light of the recent discoveries in Mr Barroso’s case: “we are working to reinforce transparency rules. The Juncker Commission is the protagonist of transparency.”

According to Magyar Idők, Mr Barroso reacted to Publico’s allegations in a written statement, saying that he kept in touch with major banks as part of his job. Expresso Online reports that Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa requested explanations from President  Juncker regarding the Commission’s treatment of José Manuel Barroso. But a Commission spokesperson stated that “this is not a matter to be addressed between the Portuguese Prime Minister and President Juncker, but between the Commission and Mr Barroso himself.”

In an opinion piece in L’Opinion, socialist MEP Emmanuel Maurel discusses the recent spate of scandals in Europe, which shed light on “immoral behaviour, narcissism and a lack of compassion” among the ruling elite. “Bahamas leaks”, the latest scandal, involving former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, is “total”, as it has “tax heaven, conflict of interest and suspected insider dealing”.

The “timing could not be worse” as multiple crises are already shaking Europe, even though the Kroes and Barroso cases cannot be blamed on the Juncker Commission. The current Commission may be “politically questionable” but it does “tackle fiscal injustice”, as illustrated by Commissioner Moscovici’s many revision proposals and Commissioner Vestager’s “activism”.




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