The European Commission on Tuesday defended the appointment of Martin Selmayr as its secretary-general after an EU watchdog said the move “stretched and possibly even overstretched the limits of the law.”
Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas clashed repeatedly with reporters over the issue at the EU’s regular midday press briefing.
The European Ombudsman has found that the EU executive under President Jean-Claude Juncker failed to follow procedures in appointing Martin Selmayr as secretary-general to run the EU civil service and so undermined public trust.
The European Commission “stretched and possibly even overstretched the limits of the law” by fast-tracking Martin Selmayr’s appointment as secretary-general, the European Ombudsman reported Tuesday.
In a scathing report detailing the findings of a five-month investigation, the ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, said the Commission had committed four acts of “maladministration” and forced Selmayr, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff, into the EU’s most senior civil service post.
Selmayr was given a position, O’Reilly said, that he was not qualified to fill without first being installed into a deputy job.
But while O’Reilly, the EU’s top watchdog, found the entire 28-member Commission, including Juncker, at fault for the acts of maladministration, her findings yield no consequences for Selmayr, who will remain in his job. Instead, she urged the Commission to “develop a specific appointment procedure for its Secretary-General, separate from other senior appointments.”
Such a procedure should include “the publication of a vacancy notice,” which did not occur before Selmayr’s promotion last February.