College decisions of 21 February concerning the senior management of our institution

Brussels, 28 February 2018




Note to Mr. Günther OETTINGER

Commissioner in charge of Budget and Human resources




Subject :  College decisions of 21 February concerning the senior management of our institution


As part of the frank and open dialogue with the staff representation that you have established, we would like to bring to your attention the following questions and requests for clarification regarding the recent appointments to senior management.

First of all, it is reassuring to note the absence of any external appointment: almost all of the colleagues who were appointed have consolidated experience within our institution and had already assumed important management responsibilities within a Directorate-General. Indeed, in the past, appointments by external procedure to the positions of Director-General of persons with no experience and internal knowledge of our institution had disastrous effects for the proper functioning of services, against the legitimate career expectations of our colleagues.

Secondly, we appreciated that, for the first time, Bulgarian and Cypriot colleagues were appointed to posts of major responsibility.

Thirdly, we take good note of the efforts made to achieve a better gender balance in senior management posts.

However, there are critical aspects that need to be clarified.


The decisions of February 21 have raised many questions that we are submitting to you to have your clarifications and answers.


1. Why were these appointments handled in the greatest secrecy?

Indeed, as confirmed by numerous articles published in the press, as well as by information that was transmitted to us by colleagues including cabinet members, the whole process behind these appointments would have been managed in the biggest secret, putting the members of the college and their cabinets before the fait accompli. We cannot believe that, as it was told by several journalists, despite your responsibilities, even you would have been involved only in the very last phase of the process.

2. Why, to one exception, have these Director-General posts been filled without prior publication of a vacancy notice and therefore without a comparative analysis of potential candidates?

In your press statement on these appointments, you emphasized that “By appointing the best people to the right jobs, we are determined to use the window of opportunity that now opens for us to act according to our policy agenda”.

Without doubting the merits of the newly appointed colleagues, it is nevertheless important to remember that, in view of our Staff Regulations and the basic principles of our public service, only the publication of a vacancy notice and the procedures therein related guarantees the comparative analysis of the merits of the candidates.

We want to make sure that this is not again a new approach that will systematically aim at not publishing the posts of Director-General, thus avoiding the usual selection procedures, advertising and possible jurisdictional control.

3. What are the exact details of the procedure that led to the appointment of the new Secretary-General?

With regard to the most important administrative appointment within our institution, it is imperative and urgent to ensure absolute clarity and to dispel all criticism, including statements reported in the press, suggesting that it was a real “coup d’état” carried out with a small group of “plotters” and with the complicit silence of others. In particular, according to this same press and its sources, the internal rules were “abused or deliberately violated”. According to the same information, though he was not eligible for the post, Mr Selmayr would have been appointed Deputy Secretary-General following a selection procedure in the same day and then transferred to the post of Secretary General following the concomitant departure of Mr. Italianer who wished to retire.

Shoud this information be founded, you would agree with us that this is a completely new and quite surprising procedure that requires an explanation going beyond the usual clarifications previously transmitted by the spokesman’s service, in reaction to press reports and questions from members of the European Parliament who have come to ask for a parliamentary committee of inquiry to shed light on this appointment.

4. Is it true that the three former Directors-General appointed to senior advisers were informed of the decision to discharge them from their responsibilities only on the eve of the college meeting, without any prior notice?

It would be unacceptable that these colleagues would have had to undergo such brutal and disrespectful treatment when, for years, they had accomplished their missions to the full satisfaction of our institution. No doubt that such procedure is likely to call into question these three colleagues’ respectability, which must therefore be restored without delay.

Unum castigabis, centum emendabis ?

Under these circumstances, your clarifications become all the more necessary as the press has already imagined that these decisions would actually come from the former Head of the President’s cabinet / new Secretary-General, who would have begun to shape the Commission to his idea “by dismissing general managers he did not like”, a very clear signal to create a climate of generalized fear that is absolutely unacceptable within our institution.

Clarifying the processes underlying these decisions, restoring the respectability of our colleagues, denying with the utmost firmness such interpretations, this is what we are urgently asking you, so can be confirmed the commitment to the values of our public service and can thus be protected the credibility of our institution and its appointment procedures.

To this end, we kindly ask for an answer on all the items raised, as soon as possible. At stake is the credibility of the institution, both internal and external.

Cristiano Sebastiani,





Mr J-C Juncker, President

Ladies and Gentlemen College Members

Mr. M. Selmayr, Secretary General

Ms I. Souka, DG DGHR

Messrs. C. Roques, L. Duluc DG HR

Commission staff




Press Review


Libération – Le Parlement européen s’empare du “Selmayrgate”

Il Sole 24 Ore –  Caso-Selmayr: il Parlamento Ue chiede un’audizione a Juncker. Si rischia conflitto istituzionale

DDS – :Onrust in Brussel: parlement en ambtenarij willen onderzoek naar verdachte snelle benoeming Martin Selmayr tot hoogste ambtenaar

The Brussels Times – New secretary general in the European Commission reaches out to staff after being questioned on parachuting to his post


Liberation – Martin Selmayr braque la Commission européenne

L’Echo – L’affaire Selmayr “affaiblit” la Commission européenne

Liberation – Selmayrgate: une commission en  coupe réglée

The Parliament magazine—European Parliament to launch probe into Martin Selmayr promotion

Euronews – Le Parlement ouvre une enquête sur la nomination de Selmayr Commission européenne : La nomination de Martin Selmayr au secrétariat général fait débat

L’Echo – “Juncker a le droit de nommer Martin Selmayr à ce poste!” (Oettinger)

Ilsole24ore – Caso-Selmayr: Katainen, Commissione colta di sorpresa. Anche i Socialisti chiedono l’audizione di Juncker

Libération: Martin Semayr: « opération nuit et brouillard »

AD –Brusselse ambtenaren in opstand tegen nieuwe baas

Luxemburger Wort – Des eurodéputés réclament une enquête après le parachutage d’un proche de Juncker

Deutschlankfunk – Eine umstrittene Wahl

DNR—EU-Abgeordnete kritisieren Selmayr-Personalie

Euractiv – Die Beförderung Selmayrs stößt im Parlament auf Widerstand

Les  – Ca se passe en Europe : le Machiavel de la Commission met Bruxelles en émoi
Le Monde – Polémique autour du parachutage du bras droit de Juncker au sommet de l’administration bruxelloise

Le Soir.Be – Le parachutage de Selmayr, bras droit de Juncker, crée la polémique

Liberation – Martin Selmayr et les comploteurs de la Commission

Toute l’ – Commission européenne: nomination controversée de Martin Selmayr au poste de secrétaire général Coup de Trafalgar au Berlaymont

RT France – Promotion controversée d’un proche de Jean-Claude Juncker à la Commission européenne

L’Echo – L’affaire Selmayr tourne au duel “Richelieu” contre “Robespierre”

Le Quotidien – Des eurodéputés veulent une enquête sur la promotion du bras droit de Juncker

Spiegel online – Blitzbeförderung von Junckers “Monster” sorgt für Empörung

Unternehmen-Heute – EU-Parlamentarier verlangen nach Beförderung von Junckers “Monster” Untersuchung – Nach Beförderung durch Juncker: EU-Parlamentarier fordern Untersuchung

Zeitonline – Juncker wegen Beförderung Selmayrs in der Kritik – Aufregung um Insiderwissen des EU-Topbeamten Selmayr

L’Echo – Selmayr, le “Richelieu” de Juncker, provoque le scandale

Libération – Commission : le golpe de Martin Selmayr : La nomination de l’Allemand Martin Selmayr au poste de secrétaire général de la Commission européenne donne raison aux partisans du Brexit

Euobserver – Selmayr’s promotion ‘perfectly normal’, Commission says

Süddeutsche Zeitung – Kritik an Beförderung

Euronews – Martin Selmayr – Der “Mann aus dem Hintergrund”

Libération – Martin Selmayr et les comploteurs de la Commission

Libération – Comment un eurocrate s’est emparé du pouvoir

Libération – UE . Martin Selmayr, tireur de ficelles à la Commission

Le temps – Martin Selmayr, le « monstre » de Bruxelles

Le Point – UE: Martin Selmayr, «monstre» de Juncker, s’installe à la Commission

Euronews – Nouvelle donne à la Commission européenne

L’essentiel – Le «monstre» de Juncker propulsé à la Commission

Politico – Martin Selmayr secures Commission top job

Libération – Martin Selmayr, l’euro fort

Ilsole24ore  –  Cambio ai vertici Ue: Selmayr nuovo segretario generale al posto di Italianer

Independent –  Martin Selmayr: controversial Juncker aide promoted to run whole European Commission



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