The U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs announced that it has hired former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso as a “consultant.” Barroso will be the non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International (the international branch of the group based in London) and adviser to Goldman Sachs.
Barroso’s tenure lasted 10 years: The second term was marked by the explosion of the financial crisis, during which the European Commission applied stricter banking regulations and austerity policies that multiplied the crisis and its devastating effects. In 2009, the former center-right Portuguese prime minister had described the bankers’ bonuses as “scandalous” and an “ethical problem.”
“If our farmers, our workers pay a contribution to society, bankers should, too,” he said. “We should not tax consumption. I believe that we must tax financial activities equally in some countries where they do not pay a proportional contribution to society.”
This did not exactly happen during Barroso’s term in Brussels. At the worst possible time for the E.U., and with the new banking crisis, Barroso has closed a door and opened another. A choice that will not help the image of the institution that he led.