Barroso Warns Cameron of 'Historic Mistake' Over Europe
Jose Manuel Barroso served as the president of the European commission from 2004 until 2014 Getty Images

European Parliament President Martin Schulz has urged the European Union to review its ethics code amid the storm that followed Jose Manuel Barroso's decision to join Goldman Sachs.

The former European Commission president, who left his post in 2014, angered many senior politicians when he joined the US bank in July on an undisclosed salary, 20 months after leaving his European post which has an 18-month "cooling off" period.

French President Francois Hollande described Barroso's appointment as "morally unacceptable", saying Goldman Sachs was implicated in helping Greece to hide the size of its debts in 2001, a key factor in the run-up to the Eurozone crisis.

Earlier this week, Jean-Claude Juncker, Barroso's successor, opened an investigation into the former Portuguese prime minister's decision to join the investment banking giant and questioned whether his predecessor had breached a requirement to act with integrity.

Speaking to German newspaper Die Welt on Wednesday (14 September), Schulz said the EU ought to define more clearly what former presidents are permitted to do.

"We should adapt the code of conduct to make it clearer what former EU Commission presidents and EU commissioners are permitted to do," he said.

"They [the rules] 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's appointment led to 140,000 respondents signing a petition calling for him to forfeit his EU pension, while EU ombudsman Emily O'Reilly has also raised concerns about the move.

If a breach of that ethical code is proven, the Commission can deprive a former commissioner of his or her EU pension.

Juncker added that Barroso will be stripped of his VIP former president status when on business at the EU, and will instead be treated a common "interest representative".