Memorandum: On the Ethical and Legal Issues Arising from the Appointment of the Former President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso As Non-Executive Chairman and Director of Goldman Sachs International
12 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2017 Last revised: 12 Apr 2017
Date Written: December 31, 2016
This Memorandum to the European Commission presents our professional opinion on the legal and ethical issues arising from the appointment of the former President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso as non-executive chairman and director of Goldman Sachs. We identify a number of flaws of the Opinion of the Ad Hoc Ethical Committee which considered the issue and offer our own analysis of applicable law and the action the Commission is required to take. In our view, the Opinion represents a case of maladministration, on the ground of which it should have been set aside by the Commission in unequivocal terms. On our own analysis, Mr. Barroso’s acceptance of his new appointment was ethically inappropriate and, therefore, a violation of TFEU. Further we argue that the Commission has powers to take remedial action and is legally obliged to act to enforce the EU law and to protect the interests of the EU and its reputation. We show that, contrary to most comments in the media, the expiry of the eighteen months ‘cooling-off’ period does not put Mr. Barroso on the right side of the law, and does not preclude the obligation of the Commission to take remedial action.
Keywords: Barroso; Barrosogate; Ad Hoc Ethical Committee; European Commission; European Union
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