This week, the Commission sticks to its Selmayrgate stance, Manfred Weber thinks he’s in with a chance and Theresa May is queen of the dance.
This week’s sponsor is the European Parliament’s S&D group. More about their activities at the end.
Kicking off the rentree with a bang, the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, issued her finding that the “fast track” appointment of Jean Claude Juncker’s right hand man, Martin Selmayr, to Commission Secretary-General amounted to “maladministration”.
"Maladministration": the @EUombudsman just ruled on the flawed appointment procedure that saw Martin #Selmayr become the EU Commission's new Secretary-General. Here's why #Selmayrgate matters: the SecGen holds a lot of power within the institution. https://t.co/rXVGvjlHir
— CEO (@corporateeurope) September 4, 2018
She said the Commission did not follow “the relevant rules correctly either in letter or in spirit.”
#SelmayrGate: the Commission did not follow “the relevant rules correctly either in letter or in spirit”.
— David Carretta (@davcarretta) September 4, 2018
Justin Stares summed it up saying “Brussels bureaucrat climbs greasy pole with help of important friends and a bit of rule-bending. Damp squib”
Brussels bureaucrat climbs greasy pole with help of important friends and a bit of rule-bending? Damp squib. #selmayrgate
— Justin Stares (@JustinStares) September 4, 2018
Telegraph reporter James Crisp was taking bets on how long the now-traditional grilling of the spokesperson would take: “I reckon 37 mins. Though some have suggested 58.”
OK Brussels folks. How long do you think the midday press briefing will last after the latest twist in #Selmayrgate ?
I reckon 37 mins. Though some have suggested 58 …
— James Crisp (@JamesCrisp6) September 4, 2018
Chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas gave the performance of his career, stating that despite the scathing report, the EU Ombudsman “doesn’t contest the legality” of Selmayr’s appointment.
Farting in a lift also remains legal noted Berlaymonster.
EU Ombudsman 'doesn't contest legality' of Selmayr appointment as SecGen, says spoke.
Farting in a lift also remains legal.
— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) September 4, 2018
Yep, and they both stink!
Times journo Bruno Waterfield was more measured: I think it’s a pity, he said. Selmayr was once just what the Commission needed – a good brutal kick up its well upholstered arse.
I think it's a pity. Selmayr was once just what the commission needed – a good brutal kick up its well upholstered arse
But with hubris comes nemesis
— Bruno Waterfield (@BrunoBrussels) September 4, 2018
But Alice Stollmeyer was right when she said the Commission has scored an own goal.
— Alice Stollmeyer (@StollmeyerEU) September 4, 2018
It’s stuff like this that led to Brexit!
Elsewhere, this week Manfred Weber threw his hat in the ring to be the next Commission President by formally announcing his hope to be the EPP Spitzenkandidat.
I want to become the @EPP's lead candidate for the 2019 European Elections and be the next President of the European Commission. Europe needs a new beginning and more democracy. #Spitzenkandidaten 3/3
— Manfred Weber (@ManfredWeber) September 5, 2018
As if there’s not enough German influence… as Agence Europe’s cartoonist pointed out:
— Agence Europe (@AgencEurope) September 6, 2018
Captain Europe says with Manfred Weber becoming the main EPP candidate, the whole idea of Spitzenkandidat becomes officially a very bad idea.
— Captain Europe 🇪🇺 (@captain_europe) September 5, 2018
A brief re-cap for those of you too young to remember, or have valiantly managed to blot out the whole Spitzenkandidat circus of five years ago: it’s the process whereby the European Parliament elections effectively become a horse-race for the Commission President as well, as the group with the most MEPs automatically gets their candidate appointed.
Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb was also out and about playing nice with Brussels folk.
Nice meeting my old friend and colleague @EP_President. Lots to talk about, including the EU budget and the upcoming EU elections. The European Parliament key player in #MFF. pic.twitter.com/5YmPgYPeUh
— Alexander Stubb (@alexstubb) September 6, 2018
Leading Shane Heneghan to wonder whether Weber has competition for the EPP Spitzenkandidat nomination?
— Shane Heneghan (@shaneheneghan) September 6, 2018
Yes Shane, he most definitely does!
Ryan Heath gave us a fun guide to the racers and riders for all the groups.
— Aoife White (@aoifewhite101) September 5, 2018
Meanwhile a lot of people pointed out that the whole process has one high-profile opponent in French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron’s ANTIDEMOCRATIC party rejects #Spitzenkandidat process – POLITICO
— SpaceFromGreece (@SpaceFromGreece) September 6, 2018
But Dave Keating rode to Macron’s defence saying the reason he is so opposed to the Spitzenkandidat process is that it’s a stitch-up by design. Awarding the Commission presidency to the party that receives the highest number of votes guarantees an EPP centre-right presidency.
The reason Macron is so opposed to the #Spitzenkandidat process is that it's a stitch-up, by design. Awarding the EC presidency to the party which receives the highest number of votes guarantees an EPP centre-right presidency. https://t.co/LAmZeNIMxR
— Dave Keating (@DaveKeating) September 5, 2018
Personally I’m just hoping it’s not another middle-aged white guy! Hey, we can all dream!
And finally, Theresa May Dancing! Yes it was over a week ago, but we were on holiday and really, how could you not…?
Theresa May is the dancing queen part 2 pic.twitter.com/0hJNSAyYEg
— Emily 🌹 (@emilybennett27) August 30, 2018
If you think I’m going to waste my afternoon editing videos of Theresa May dancing, then you’re absolutely right pic.twitter.com/GDVTI1JL7k
— Rhys Evans MUA (@rhysy91) August 28, 2018
The #TheresaMayDancing hashtag provoked joy and ridicule in equal amounts.
Chris Brookmyre said to give Theresa May some credit, she’s better at dancing than she is at just about everything else. Apart from deporting people for being the wrong colour, obviously. She’s shit-hot at that.
To give Theresa May some credit, she's better at dancing than she is at just about everything else. Apart from deporting people for being the wrong colour, obviously. She's shit-hot at that.
— Chris Brookmyre (@cbrookmyre) August 28, 2018
Rossanna Trudgian said: I’m no fan of Theresa May, her politics or her dancing skills, but hats off to her for getting stuck in! There would have been many PMs who would have felt as though they were above doing that. Now if she can just get stuck in to tackling child poverty…
I’m no fan of Theresa May, her politics or her dancing skills, but hats off to her for getting stuck in! There would have been many PMs who would have felt as though they were above doing that. Now if she can just get stuck in to tackling child poverty… #TheresaMayDancing https://t.co/Rlf3zZ6J7e
— Rossanna Trudgian (@rossannat) August 31, 2018
And Sam Evans said bring on another few years of Theresa May’s dancing and curtsying – just for the memes!
I KNOW YOU ENGLISH HATE THERESA MAY BUT HER DANCING 🕺🏻🕺🏻🕺🏻🕺🏻🕺🏻 AND HER TRYING TO CURSTY GIVE ME ME LIFE!!!! PLEASE GIVE HER ANOTHER FEW YEARS OF MEME FILLED OPPORTUNITIES TO ARISE WE LOVE YOU THERESA XOXOXOXO pic.twitter.com/KfB8QWinn9
— Sam Evans (@Discokiid) September 6, 2018
And the winner of Twitter this week? It’s gotta be the Theresa May – Mr Bean Dance Off
— Mark Homer (@markprogressive) September 1, 2018
This week we are supported by the European Socialists and Democrats. They’re aiming to do more than just dance in Africa. Find our more about this year’s S&D Africa Week from 5th to 9th of November by following the hashtag #WithAfrica.
— S&D Group (@TheProgressives) September 5, 2018
And that’s it for this week! Join me again for more thrills and spills in the Brussels Bubble Twittershpere.