He strongly criticized the European Commission (EB) Emily O’Reilly, EU Ombudsman, for reporting “maladministration” in the appointment of Martin Selmayr, Secretary-General, who issued his report on Tuesday.
In March, the Ombudsman launched an investigation into the appointment of the European Parliament as a “coup”.
In his report, Emily O’Reilly identified four irregularities in the proceedings and found that the committee did not “comply either with the letter or with the spirit of the regulations” but did not call for the decision to be withdrawn.
He stressed that the Brussels body artificially created a sense of urgency as regards the post of Secretary-General, confirming that they did not apply for a job.
As he wrote, the rules were manipulated to make the process seem “fair and correct,” but in fact this was not the case, “the whole affair merely served to secure Selmayr’s appointment.” For the criticisms, the committee made “detouring responses, defensive, and sometimes offensive,” she pointed out.
The Ombudsman called “somewhat ironic” that Jean-Claude Juncker was the first President of the European Commission to be elected by the so-called peer-to-peer system to enhance transparency. “All this has jeopardized public confidence,” he said.
Finally, Emily O’Reilly proposed that the European Commission elaborate a new detailed procedure for filling the post of Secretary-General.
Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner responsible for human resources, said that while not sharing all the findings of the report, he welcomed the fact that the Ombudsman did not dispute the legitimacy of the appointment or the suitability of the Secretary-General. He added that the committee would later explain its position on the disputed issues.
He stressed that they will study the recommendations and examine how to better apply the current rules.
A German lawyer who was admired and dreaded by many in Brussels at the same time, Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the Commission, was elected to the public by the end of February. Selmayr, who has been described as “bulldozer” by Juncker’s right-hand man, remains the key position in the committee, irrespective of the outcome of next year’s EU clearance.
The Secretary-General is the highest bureaucracy of the European Commission, which serves the whole organization to manage the operation of the apparatus.