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The Brief: Will EU officials strike over Barroso-gate?

The Brief: Will EU officials strike over Barroso-gate?

The Brief is's evening newsletter.


EU officials are still seething about José Manuel Barroso pocketing a bumper paycheck from Goldman Sachs to advise the US investment bank on Brexit.

Lest we forget, officials have banded together to launch an online, anonymous petition calling for Barroso to get an “exemplary” punishment for what they see as a “betrayal”.

One member of the group told me, “After Brexit, Barroso did this – it is too much, it is a trauma.”

The petition, which has more than 150,000 supporters, was signed by “tens of thousands” of EU staff, our source claimed. It will be handed to the Commission next Wednesday through an intermediary.

The source said the petition needed to be anonymous because no one was sure how the institutions would react.

“There is sometimes a feeling of suspicion,” our mole whispered, nervously looking back over his or her shoulder.

The European Commission, remember, has recently launched a tough, new anti-leak strategy, which promptly leaked.

Set aside for a moment the fact that EU staff feel the need to hide behind anonymous petitions and what it says about the corporate culture of the institutions.

The Brief can reveal a new development. The unions have got involved. They have been circulating the petition among their members in the EU institutions. They will be there for the handover of the petition.

On a day of targeted trade union strikes in Brussels, which closed the Commission canteen, we had to ask our shadow-shrouded contact the question.

Would Brussels bureaucrats take a leaf out of the Belgium book? Will EU officials go on strike over Barroso-gate?

“It is a possibility, it could happen,” coughed up our Deep Throat.

So comrades there it is. And when the bureaucrats take to the barricades outside the Berlaymont – remember where you heard it first.

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The dust is settling on Ukipper Steven Woolfe’s brawl with fellow MEP Mike Hookem in the European Parliament. The Daily Mail got some hospital bedside pics, The Sun won the best headline competition, and revealed the punch up could cost the MEPs thousands in expenses.

Some argue it is time to drop the ‘no negotiation without notification’ rhetoric around Brexit. François Hollande is talking tough and so is Jean-Claude Juncker, who also has strong words for Hungary.

Hungary’s Commissioner voted against EU migrant quotas in the recent referendum, and Merkel is heading off to Africa to talk migration.

The Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists has changed its name, Keir Starmer has been named shadow Brexit minister by UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and could Tony Blair be poised for a comeback?

The pound suffered a ‘flash crash’ this morning and Deutsche Bank’s problems could have ramifications for us all.

Germany is catching flak for its opposition to recycling targets in the Circular Economy Package, first reported here. A global deal on aviation emissions has been struck.

Meanwhile a leaked draft of the EU-Canada trade deal has got short shrift, but CETA’s fate rests in the palms of a handful of Walloon MPs.

Media freedom in France is under threat and it is more bad news for Syria. The EU will give emergency cash to victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

EU leaders congratulated Colombia’s president for his efforts to secure peace in his country. But the EU also froze a development fund for Colombia after voters rejected a peace deal with FARC in a referendum. Bloody referendums, eh?


Some of the most iconic toilets in Brussels this weekend.