News ID: 215070
Published: 0602 GMT May 14, 2018

EU launches probe into Commission chief Juncker’s aide promotion

EU launches probe into Commission chief Juncker’s aide promotion

European Union authorities have launched an investigation into complaints about a sudden promotion of European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s top aide.

Reports on Monday showed that European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly had sent a letter to the commission on May 8, demanding explanations for the controversial promotion of Martin Selmayr, a German staffer of the Commission and Juncker's right-hand man, to the top civil service post in the European executive body.

The ombudsman gave the Commission until June 15 to answer seven questions regarding Selmayr's shock appointment to the post of secretary general.

O'Reilly’s inquiry came after Dutch and French members of the European Parliament filed complaints against Selmayr's appointment. The investigation will be based on an examination of the issue by the MEPs, Presstv Reported.

In a motion last month, the European Parliament overwhelmingly slammed Selmayr’s appointment to the post, which could affect 30,000 people within the Commission.

The ombudsman has asked the Commission to clarify how it would react to media’s “legitimate and valid questions” about the case, which has become known as “Selmayrgate,” while urging the body to ensure that the decision to appoint the 47-year-old to the post has not affected trust in the Brussels-based organization.

The row began on February 21 and in a meeting of the commissioners when it was announced that Selmayr had become deputy secretary general of the Commission. However, minutes later, Selmayr became secretary general after incumbent Alexander Italianer suddenly announced his retirement.

Margaritis Schinas, European Commission spokesman, said Monday that the body would respond to the questions raised by the ombudsman in due time.

“We received the letter and we will reply within the deadline indicated,” said Schinas without elaborating.

Commission authorities have indicated that Juncker had spoken to Selmayr about the post after he knew in 2015 of Italianer's plan to retire.



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