The Brief, powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) – Losing my religion

The Brief is EURACTIV's evening newsletter

The Commission has said and repeated that the bureaucratic procedures for appointing Martin Selmayr as Secretary General of the EU executive had been followed “religiously”. If this is true, I’m losing my religion.

The 80 pages of explanations, so quickly prepared and published at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, only illustrate the sense of conspiracy, of opening secret doors to Selmayr as if he were the Knight Templar or some superior species.

And how on Earth did the Commission, famous for turning foot-dragging into a science, suddenly become so productive? Obviously the stakes are huge. At the EPP pre-summit meeting last week, Juncker even threatened to resign if his powerful aid was voted out by Parliament. MEPs will vote on 19 April.

But let us ignore the details.

Like these little lies: Since when did Selmayr know? Did he, or did he not, try to bribe the jury by floating proposals for new perks for departing commissioners?

Or the conflict of interest in steering the Commission’s written answers to Parliament.

More importantly, the scandal inadvertently revealed that the worn out Juncker we used to know might actually be Selmayr’s marionette.

Why exactly is Selmayr so powerful?  The answer is very simple: it’s because all those around him are weak. Not only his collaborators, but also the Commissioners. And their President, too.

But why did this powerful man sleepwalk into trouble of such epic proportions? It’s because he has no friends.  Around him are only people who fear him and who would not dare warn him of the obvious.

Is this the European Union citizens could trust?

Did I say too much, or I haven’t said enough?

The appetites for ousting Selmayr are growing. Even in the mainstream political groups, including the EPP, many believe that ignoring such a massive scandal may prove fatal ahead of the May 2019 European elections.

So we’d better show Europeans that the European Parliament has powers.

The only thing that can keep Selmayr afloat (although his credit is exhausted) is the current geopolitical tension with Russia.

Consider this – the hint of the century: it’s not wise to fire the entire EU executive at such a time.


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