Brussels - The European Commission (EC) today faced new criticism over the way it is handling the controversy over the hiring of former President Manuel José Durao Barroso by the British financier Goldman Sachs.
A group of officials of the European Executive has collected 152 thousand signatures in a petition to pressure Barroso to leave his new position of consultant, with the threat of revoked his pension rights as a European official.
Officials sought to hand over the boxes containing the document to the current EC President, Jean-Claude Juncker. However, the day before they were prevented from entering the headquarters of the Executive.
The same happened hours later with a delegation from the Alliance for Lobby and Ethics Transparency (Alter-EU), which tried to make a second request on the same subject, signed by 63 thousand people.
Under EU law, EU high-level officials are obliged to respect a period of 18 months after the end of their civil service before moving to the private sector. Barroso has joined Goldman Sachs 20 months after leaving the EC.
However, European officials argue that their hiring by one of the firms most involved in the 2008 financial crisis and Greece's economic crisis sends a bad signal to European citizens at a time when the EU institutions suffer from a Serious lack of popularity.
Juncker asked the EC ethics committee to analyze the case and promised changes in the rules of conduct of the commissioners.