BARROSO COMMISSION FOR HIRE
Unemployment in the EU remains stubbornly high. Except among former EU Commissioners.
They can’t stop taking up job offers, no matter how embarrassing or uncomfortable it makes life for their previous paymasters.
In the last two weeks, there was outcry over ex-Commission President José Manuel Barroso pocketing a payslip from Goldman Sachs. Former Digital Commissioner Neelie Kroes – now on the board of Uber – also forgot to declare her directorship of an offshore firm while in her post.
The latest Commissioner to take the corporate shilling is ex-climate chief Connie Hedegaard.
It was announced this morning that she had joined the international sustainability council of – drum roll please – the Volkswagen Group. Yes that VW, of Dieselgate fame. You know, the emissions test cheats.
The Commission today could only say that the obligatory 18 month cooling-off period that Commissioners must observe before taking a job had been respected.
But officials privately admitted the timing couldn’t have been worse, as anger rises over Brussels’ ‘revolving doors’.
To be fair, only Kroes has broken EU rules. Hedegaard and Barroso (even though he was told off) are guilty of nothing more than thoughtlessness or bad judgment.
Yesterday, Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said transparency was vital to regain citizens’ lost trust in the EU.
Tougher rules and decisive punishment for those with their snouts in the trough is more important.
This Brief is powered by Huawei.
EU agricultural subsidies are paying for a pig farm on the site of a Nazi concentration camp in the Czech Republic. Juncker was sent this letter.
The Commission has launched infringement proceedings against Germany for its controversial road toll law, introduced last year by Bavaria’s conservatives.
Meanwhile the Commission’s Marie Donnelly has lashed out at subsidies for coal, gas and nuclear, branding the EU’s power market “broken”.
LOOK OUT FOR…
Environment ministers meet in Brussels tomorrow for what promises to be a tense day of talks on climate. The EU wants to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change on 7 October, pushing the deal over the 55% threshold of global emissions needed for it to enter into force. But Italy and Poland are causing problems, trying to win late concessions on the division of emissions reductions among member states. The Commission’s worst case scenario is that France decides EU ratification is taking too long and jets off to New York to grab the glory of triggering the threshold alone or with the other five member states ready to ratify.