An ethics probe has found that former European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso showed poor judgment, but did not breach the institution's code of conduct by taking a job with global investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The ethics committee said in a ruling made public Monday that Barroso had respected the mandatory, 18-month cooling off period before he joined Goldman's board.

But the committee concluded Barroso "has not shown the considerate judgment one may expect from someone having held the high office he occupied for so many years."

Spokesman Margaritis Schinas says the commission will decide whether to take action after studying the ruling.

EU Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly wants the ethics rules strengthened given the probe found "that reputational damage was done both to the commission and to the wider EU."