With rumours swirling that former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso was in clear violation of the EU’s ethics protocols when he met with current Commission VP Jyrki Katainen in a Brussels hotel late last year, the Commission has concluded that the two were with within their legal bounds during an October 2017 private conversation
Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said Katainen followed procedure when he published a report about his meeting with Barosso less than 24 hours after the informal rendezvous took place near the Berlyamont.
“24 hours after the meeting, Vice-President Katainen published the details of his talks with Barroso (in the EU transparency register) according to the (legal) procedures,” said Schinas.
Katainen has always claimed that the meeting was an informal gathering.
“It’s really wrong to claim that he (Barroso) is lobbying for anyone. If someone was in the role of the lobbyist, that was mainly me. I told him about our defence and trade agendas and the future of Europe,” Katainen said in an interview with the Finnish Broadcastinjustg Company, adding that “no notes were taken when we met…it was just a friendly visit between friends.”
Barroso, who served as Commission head for a decade from 2004-2014 before taking his current position with US investment firm Goldman Sachs, had previously promised current Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that he would not be speaking on behalf of his current employer.
The meeting was held 36 months after Barroso left the Commission and after the compulsory 18-month probation period a former official has to wait before accepting a job that may include taking part in lobbying activities.