Ombudsman accuses Commission of maladministration in appointment of Secretary-General

4 September 2018

Ombudsman accuses Commission of maladministration in appointment of Secretary-General

European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has taken a close look into the appointment of Martin Selmayr and concluded that there have been four counts of maladministration. 'These judgments confirm what the European Parliament itself decided in July, that the Juncker Commission acted incorrectly in the appointment of Selmayr,' says SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. 'So it's of the greatest importance that the discussion about political appointments in the European institutions is accorded the highest priority. The most recent proposals from Commissioner Günther Oettinger are in danger of being quickly hidden away behind closed doors. We mustn't let that happen.'

The Ombudsman notes that the European Commissioners have a collective responsibility. 'They all voted in favour of this appointment, and so they're all guilty,' says De Jong. 'The Ombudsman finds the Commission manipulated the rules to give the impression that everything was in order, and that's shocking. I've lost any confidence in this Commission, certainly if they fail to hold a public discussion on political appointments.'

The Ombudsman concludes that no measures were taken to prevent conflicts of interest in the appointment of Elmayr as Secretary General, that the composition of the selection committee did not meet minimum standards, and that the maladministration arose due to the Commission not following the relevant rules correctly either in letter or in spirit. It also organised a Deputy Secretary-General selection procedure, not to fill that role, but rather to make Selmayr Secretary-General in a rapid two-step appointment, that the Commission created an artificial sense of urgency to fill the post of Secretary-General in order to justify not publishing a vacancy notice.

De Jong often notes faults in the making of appointments, including in the European Parliament. 'Big parties such as the centre-right EPP and the social democrats think that they can dish out jobs amongst their own,' De Jong complains. 'The president of the Parliament Antonio Tajani has a plan to make political appointments for all senior managers, parachuting people of the right polical colour into plum jobs.'

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