Parliamentary questions
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1 March 2018
Question for oral answer O-000025/2018
to the Commission
Rule 128
Jan Zahradil, on behalf of the ECR Group

 Subject: Appointment of the Secretary-General of the European Commission

On Wednesday, 21 February, the Commission announced that its Secretary-General, Alexander Italianer, had retired with immediate effect and that Martin Selmayr, President Jean-Claude Juncker’s current Head of Cabinet, would replace him. The Commission explained that Mr Italianer had been replaced immediately in order to ensure that his ‘effectiveness’ was not undermined and that there was no ‘gap’. However, in 2015, following the announcement that former Secretary-General Catherine Day would be stepping down, Ms Day remained in the post for approximately three more months. Based on the information communicated to the press by the Commission thus far, the timeline is understood to be as follows:

31 January: Post of Deputy Secretary-General becomes available and is advertised; 14 February: Deadline for applications closes; 15 February: Candidates attend assessment centre; 16 February: Candidates interviewed and evaluated; 19 February: Heads of cabinet meet to prepare College meeting (no mention of appointment on agenda or under any other business); 20 February: Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger meets with prospective candidate; 21 February, 9:00: Revised agenda for College of Commissioners circulated, with news of appointment added; 9:30: College meeting starts, Martin Selmayr appointed Deputy Secretary-General, Secretary-General of the European Commission resigns, Martin Selmayr appointed Secretary-General of the European Commission; 9:39: Commission sends notice to journalists of press point on appointments with President Juncker and Commissioner Oettinger; 10:30: Juncker holds press point to discuss appointments during Commission meeting.

– While the Commission has stated that the recruitment of the new Secretary-General has complied with the necessary rules and procedures, does it believe that it has acted in the spirit of the rules and in good faith when it comes to transparency and fairness?

– Does it believe that its current rules and procedures for the recruitment of senior civil servants is sufficiently transparent and fair?

– Does it believe that the recruitment process as it stands enables it as an institution to consider a wide range of candidates with different skills and levels of experience?

– Given the limited time journalists were given to prepare for the press point, does it intend to review its strategy as regards informing the press and the public about major decisions and announcements?

Last updated: 5 March 2018Legal notice