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Conflicts of interest: The EU and the revolving door

Tom Fox | November 1, 2016

What is a conflict of interest? Just because you can do something, should you do it? Can something be ‘lawful yet awful’ at the same time? Let’s consider the saga of former EU commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso and his recent employment as non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs’ London-based investment bank. This past week an ad hoc EU ethics panel cleared Barroso of violating EU conflict of interest rules when his appointment to Goldman Sachs was announced in July 2016.

According to The Guardian, the EU’s “Current rules require ex-commissioners to have new jobs vetted for 18 months after leaving office. Barroso took up his bank position 20 months after leaving the Commission.” So he was technically not in violation of EU rules, but even the ethics panel of former MEP Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, the former European court judge...

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