You may have missed the case Barroso. If so it’s pretty simple: José Manuel Barroso, former president of the European Commission between 2004 and 2014, was hired as chairman of Goldman Sachs International in July. The European Union bodies’ staff criticized this controversial decision as well as the current Commission President, Jean-Claude Junker. It is understandable when we know that this bank had a large responsibility in 2007 crisis because it discredits European Union’s work.
“Personally I do not have a problem with him working for a private bank – but maybe not this bank” said M. Junker. But the issue is wider. For M. Junker it is, maybe, about image. However it is more about links between civil servants and businessmen. Because if Barroso working for Goldman Sachs is a problem, Neelie Kroes working for Über is part of the same problem. Goldman Sachs’ bad reputation is one thing. What is important is to question the ability of these persons to do there job neutrally.
It is more about links between civil servants and businessmen.
EU Observer reported that Mr. Barroso had “closer contact with Goldman Sachs during his tenure as European Commission chief than he has previously admitted, according to Portuguese media”. In fact he was in touch with Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein at least since 2013 proved Publico. Knowing that he will be hired by this same bank three years later it is difficult to believe that their discussions were only to “pass clear messages on the position of the Commission and the European Union” like Mr. Barroso said.
That is why this case has to be bring closer to Keelie Kroes and Über. Even if Über do not have the same past than Goldman Sachs the issue is the same because it reveals the collusion between these companies and the persons having the power.
Ralph Milliband writes in The State In Capitalist Society (1969) that “ […] the world of administration and the world of large-scale enterprise are now increasingly linked in terms of an almost interchanging personnel.” It explains plainly what is happening at the EU and it is not Mario Draghi, ex vice-president of Goldman Sachs’ European branch that will contradict us. Even if all the politicians are not concerned we can say that it seems common among the highest positions in the EU.
30,000 lobbyist in Brussels influence 75% of legislation
And it is not a surprise when we know that there are about 30,000 lobbyists in Brussels. According to The Guardian “they influence 75% of legislation”. After the 2007 Crisis it was obvious that the financial sector needed more regulation, and we can say the same thing about the global economy. How is it possible when the political sphere is parasitized, not to say controlled, by the economic sphere?
“ […] state intervention in economic life entails a constant relationship between businessmen and civil servants, [they] are most likely to define [the national interest] in terms congruent with the long-term interests of private capitalism.” for Milliband. The political sphere has emerged from the religious sphere to better throw itself into the capitalist economy, when will it be free of its moves?
– Theo Quint
- Eriksson, A. (2016). Barroso had deeper ties to Goldman Sachs. [online] Euobserver.com. Available at: https://euobserver.com/institutional/135227
- Financial Times. (2016). Uber picks up Neelie Kroes to navigate policy roadblocks. [online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/9354d5b2-11cd-11e6-839f-2922947098f0
- Corporate Europe Observatory. (2013).Banking on the revolving door: Rules full of loopholes for former finance officials. [online] Available at: https://corporateeurope.org/news/banking-revolving-door-rules-full-loopholes-former-finance-officials
- “There is, to begin with, the fact that state intervention in economic life entails a constant relationship between businessmen and civil servants, not as antagonists or even as representatives of different and divergent interests, but as partners in the service of the ‘national interests’ which civil servants, like politicians, are most likely to define in terms congruent with the long-term interests of private capitalism. Furthermore, the world of administration and the world of large-scale enterprise are now increasingly linked in terms of an almost interchanging personnel. We have already seen that more and more businessmen find their way into one part or other of the state system at both political and administrative levels. But so do high civil servants ever more regularly find their way into corporate enterprise.” Ralph Miliband, The State In Capitalist Society, 1969
- Hutton, W. (2010). Now we know the truth. The financial meltdown wasn’t a mistake – it was a con | Will Hutton. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/apr/18/goldman-sachs-regulators-civil-charges
- Monaghan, A. (2016). Juncker questions Barroso’s decision to join Goldman Sachs. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/sep/15/jean-claude-juncker-jose-manuel-barroso-decision-to-join-goldman-sachs
- Traynor, I. (2014). 30,000 lobbyists and counting: is Brussels under corporate sway?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/08/lobbyists-european-parliament-brussels-corporate