The European Ombudsman on Tuesday criticised the European Commission for the way it appointed its top civil servant.
The ombudsman found that the commission had "stretched and possibly even overstretched the limits of the law" when making Martin Selmayr its secretary general through a fast-tracked process.
Euronews’ Politics Editor Daniel McCaffrey was at the European Commission’s midday briefing to ask its chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas about the ruling.
This is what they said:
McCaffrey: Given the fact that the ombudsman this morning has said that the EU Commission overstretched the limits of the law, shouldn’t Martin Selmayr do the right thing and step down and re-apply for that job?
Schinas: We have received the report. While we do not share all aspects of the underlying report, we welcome that the ombudsman, based on the extensive material that she received from us, neither contested the legality of the appointment procedure of the secretary general, nor the choice of the candidate, who is described as a competent EU official, highly committed to the European Union.
McCaffrey: Given that this commission really focuses on transparency, what is going to change?
Schinas: We of course will look into the ombudsman’s recommendation and we will look forward to re-assess together with the European Parliament and the other institutions how the application of the current rules and procedures can be improved in the future, and applied... in the same manner to all institutions.
What can we learn from the European Commission’s response?
Speaking on Raw Politics, McCaffrey described the briefing as “very, very testy [and] tetchy.”
The "main defence seemed to be that ultimately this hasn’t made a difference. He quoted a figure that said support and trust for the EU institutions, including the commission, had gone up under the Selmayr affair, and I think that just shows the sign of the disconnect," he said.
“People don’t know who this man is. They’re not aware of this story. But this does talk about transparency. This is a Commission that repeatedly says it wants to be transparent and in this case, as great as Martin Selmayr might be...the whole point is that the process has not been clear.”
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