When the French commissioner Jacques Barrot was criticised in the parliament, the president had his words ‘I think my team is of high quality’ thrown back at him. Yet a Brussels spokesman said Barroso had not known about Barrot’s old embezzlement conviction.
“Mr Barrot has never been found unfit for public office, has never been barred from public office, has never had any prohibition to hold public office. It’s absolutly clear, and it (?) stresses that Mr Barrot has a clean record. It makes reference to a legal decision in the French court which has been the object of a pardon, and under French law these things cannot be referred to or mentioned.” Spokesman Stefaan de Rynck added that President Barroso had full confidence in Vice-president Barrot. On Thursday, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage shared the widely-known bit of knowledge during last-minute debate. However, the conviction over a party funding scandal in 2000 had been immediately erased by an amnesty. A retraction has been demanded of Farage. He offered to apologise if his facts were wrong. He also said he was surprised Barroso offered Barrot the justice portfolio before giving him transport.