The Goldman Sachs employment of former EU Commission President Barroso has placed the EU’s revolving door problem firmly on the political agenda. Although many former EU commissioners have taken up compromising roles with big business before, this is the first revolving door scandal involving an ex-Commission President, a development that has angered citizens, NGOs, EU governments and staff at the EU institutions alike.
Before what is now known as the Barroso scandal, more than one third of commissioners from the former Barroso Commission that existed for ten years from 2004 to 2014 had already taken up roles in corporations or other organisations with links to big business. These new roles were all authorised by the Commission.
Since May 2016 (when the period during which ex-commissioners were obliged to seek authorisation for new roles ended), several Barroso commissioners have moved into highly controversial new roles. Apart from Barroso moving to Goldman Sachs, ex-trade commissioner Karel De Gucht joined the board of mining giant Arcelor Mittal, and former digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has joined the boards of tech firms Uber and Salesforce.
To keep up public pressure and ensure that the European Commission responds to the public outcry by sorting out its revolving door problem once and for all, the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) and European campaigning organisation WeMove.EU today launched a petition calling for stricter regulation of ex-EU officials’ career moves once they’ve left office. Demands include: