EC ex-chief Josť Barroso's Goldman Sachs appointment leads to mas ire
30 August 2016
Thousands of people have signed a petition to protest the appointment of a former EU leader to Goldman Sachs, calling the move "irresponsible" and "morally reprehensible."
Over 77,000 people had signed the petition on the Change.org website and called for "strong exemplary measures" against Jose Manuel Barroso, the former president of the EU's executive arm from 2004 to 2014, whose appointment to the investment bank was announced in early July.
During his time as the head of the EC, Barroso was heavily involved in the bailout of the Greek economy, the reform of European institutions putting in place the Treaty of Lisbon and formulating an EU climate change package. Barroso was prime minister of Portugal from 2002-2004 before he joined the commission.
Barroso's appointment as non-executive chairman and general adviser to Goldman Sachs International, based in London, was seen as an attempt to limit the negative effects on the bank, of the UK's decision in late June to leave the EU.
However, according to the organisers of the petition, who said they were a "group of employees of the European Institutions," by taking up banking role, Barroso was guilty of "irresponsible revolving-door practices" of former EU officials joining the private sector.
The petition singled Goldman Sachs as being "one of the bank's most implicated in the subprime crisis that led to the financial crisis of 2007-2008 – the worst since the Great Depression – as well as one of the bank's most involved in the Greek debt crisis, having helped Greece dissimulate its deficit before speculating in 2009-2010 against it in full knowledge of the unsustainability of its debt."
Barroso's new job had attracted criticism especially from France. After the announcement of the move, France's far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, said it was not surprising as because ''the EU serves big finance, not the people.''