EU’s Schulz calls for review of ethics code after Barroso goes to Goldman

European Parliament President Martin Schulz speaking during a news conference after a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the Narino palace in Bogota, Colombia, in this file photo dated August 23, 2016. Colombian Presidency /Handout via Reuters

BERLIN European Parliament President Martin Schulz said the European Union should revise its code of conduct after the furor caused by former European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso taking a job with U.S. bank Goldman Sachs, a German paper reported on Wednesday.

“We should adapt the code of conduct to make it clearer what former EU Commission presidents and EU commissioners are permitted to do,” Schulz told the German newspaper Die Welt in an interview.

Barroso’s successor Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday opened an unprecedented ethics investigation of Barroso and whether he had breached a requirement to act with integrity by taking the job with the U.S. investment bank.

Goldman appointed Barroso as a non-executive chairman of its international arm in London two weeks after Britons voted for Brexit in June. Barroso said he would advise the bank on issues arising from the negotiations for Britain to leave the European Union.

Asked if the current EU ethics rules were too lax, Schulz told the paper, “They are not precise enough. It’s normal when a former EU Commission president is looking for a job. No one has an issue if he writes books or teaches at a university. But it’s strange that Barroso wants to advise the biggest investment bank on the Brexit issue.”

Barroso has accused Juncker of “discriminatory” behavior for opening the ethics probe and said the inquiry was “inconsistent” with the treatment of other former commissioners.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Hugh Lawson)