Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Storm over the revolving door

Former EU president Jose Manuel Barroso is the latest high-profile figure to go through the revolving door to the private sector. He joined Goldman Sachs as non-executive chairman of the bank's London operations in early July. This has triggered a massive online protest, with 76,000 signatures being collected already.

Barroso- not to be confused with the Hindi word bharosa - collects a cool 100,000 Euro as pension every year. Clearly, this isn't enough for him- it would be small change compared to what Goldman would pay him. Barroso complied with the 18 month cooling off period mandated by the EU. But the storm over his joining Goldman shows that people don't believe this limitation is adequate. As EU president, you would be dealing with cases involving high-profile companies. How you act is bound to be influenced if you know that there are post-retirement plums to be picked up from the companies you are dealing with.

No wonder French president Hollande calls it "unacceptable". The current EU president Jean Claude Juncker has a more nuanced comment. “The fact that Barroso works for a bank doesn’t bother me. But the fact that it’s that one causes me a problem.”

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