France calls on ex-EU chief Barroso to drop Goldman Sachs job

Barroso was hired 20 months after stepping down, shortly after an 18-month “cooling off” period when ex-commissioners must seek clearance for new jobs to avoid conflicts of interest.

“The European Commission president should be above the pressures of private interest. The restriction on being hired by a private company should be extended,” Desir said.

In reaction to news of Barroso’s move, the European Ombudsman called on Tuesday for the EU to tighten rules on commissioners taking appointments on leaving office.

EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici criticised the appointment as bad for the Commission’s image at a time when it is under attack as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

“When a public person leaves public life and goes to the private sector, he also has to think about the image it projects,” Moscovici said on France’s Europe 1 radio.

“I can assure you I won’t go to Goldman Sachs,” he added.

Barroso has said he aims to bring his experience in EU affairs to help the bank prepare for Britain’s departure from the bloc.

He was president of the Commission, which polices EU countries’ public finances, when it came to light that Goldman had helped Greece in the past to reduce its debt burden with cross currency derivatives, worsening its debt crisis.