Barroso, Oettinger and the New Rules
The announced 6-month extension of the cool-off period for former Commissioners is not only a slap in the face of 200.000 citizens who asked the EU Commission to act against Barroso, but also a missed opportunity for the EU to show that it is committed to the values it preaches. All the more so in a particularly stormy moment of EU integration.
What prevented the ad hoc ethical committee to find against Barroso was not the duration of the cool-off period, but the vague nature of the duties imposed on former Commissioners by the Treaty in their post-Commission professional life.
Unfortunately, none of the minor tweaks to the Code of Conduct will substantiate the duties of integrity and discretion which, despite being foreseen by the Treaty, were nullified by the ad hoc ethical committee.
It is difficult not to see in the new, proposed ethical rules a strategic attempt at distracting public opinion’s attention away from Barroso/Kroes, and present them as a silver bullet capable of fixing all actual systemic failures, such as Oettinger.
Don’t be foul!