Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, has written an open letter to the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker calling for measures to be taken against former Commission President José Manuel Barroso for his engagement in unethical lobbying activities on behalf of Goldman Sachs.
Carthy, who gathered support from 36 MEPs from different political groups across Europe for this letter, stated from Brussels:
“Mr Barroso was President of the European Commission for a decade, leading the EU during the period of the global financial crisis and shaping the EU’s austerity-driven response. After serving the bare minimum of the 18-month cooling-off period, he stepped into a vaguely defined role for one of the leading institutions that contributed to the crisis.
“Following widespread public outrage at this appointment, Mr Barroso gave a written assurance to his successor that he would not engage in lobbying activities on behalf of Goldman Sachs. This assurance has now turned out to be an absolute lie.
“It is one thing for Mr Juncker to have so far refused repeated calls from the European Parliament and a petition of over 63,000 signatures to make specific changes to the Code of Conduct for Commissioners and Past Presidents. However, it is an entirely different matter to be brushing aside attempts from one of its sitting Commissioners to hide this lobbying activity.
“As the letter we have today sent states, the fact that the meeting between Mr Barroso and Commissioner Katainen appeared in the register as with ‘The Goldman Sachs Group’, is proof that Mr Barroso had requested this meeting as a representative of his employer. This was not a meeting between friends, as the Commissioner is now trying to paint it as.
“These flagrant acts of deceit that prove that there is still a long way to go before the European Commission can say it has dealt with the ‘revolving door’ phenomenon that is rife among lobbyists in Brussels.
“In the letter I have called for exemplary measures to be taken against Mr Barroso, stripping him of his future pension and any related benefits. I have also called for actions to be taken to ensure that sitting Commissioners strictly adhere to principles of transparency regarding meetings they hold with lobbyists in future.
“While I am heartened by the willingness of MEPs from across the political groupings in the European Parliament it is disappointing that other Irish representatives, including Fine Gael MEPs, did not sign the letter.
“Nevertheless, I and others, will continue to press this matter to ensure all disclosure and sanction for individuals and corporations, like Mr. Barroso and Goldman Sachs, who betray the trust of European citizens”.