• all vacant posts should be published  
  • review of the procedure for the appointment of senior officials needed
  • ongoing inquiry by the European Ombudsman

MEPs ask the European Commission to reassess the procedure for appointing its Secretary-General Martin Selmayr, in a resolution adopted on Wednesday.

They say the nomination of Mr Selmayr “could be seen as a coup-like action”, which stretched and possibly overstretched the limits of the law. MEPs ask for the procedure to be reassessed to give other candidates the possibility to apply and to conduct open and transparent application procedures in future. They also want the Commission to acknowledge that this procedure has undermined its reputation.

Mr Selmayr, hitherto Head of the Cabinet of Commission President Jean - Claude Juncker, was appointed at first as deputy Secretary-General and then Secretary-General of the Commission on the same day. The procedure leading to the appointment of the Secretary-General, the Commission’s top civil servant, was conducted in such a way that no other candidate was able to apply.

The resolution calls on all EU institutions to fill positions through internal transfers only when staff have been properly notified and to prefer open and transparent procedures aimed at selecting the best qualified candidates. “All vacant posts should be published in the interest of transparency, integrity and equal opportunity,” MEPs say.

The resolution therefore calls on the European Commission to review its procedure for the appointment of senior officials by the end of 2018. Moreover, MEPs see the need for the Commission to update the rules to guarantee that the Secretary-General has a neutral role.

MEPs also point to an ongoing European Ombudsman inquiry into the appointment that would detect any possible instances of maladministration.   


The resolution builds on a series of written questions from MEPs to which the European Commission has already replied, as well as a hearing with Günther Oettinger, the EU commissioner in charge of budget and human resources. It winds up a debate held at the March part-session. In the debate, several MEPs said the procedure used to appoint Mr Selmayr as the Commission’s Secretary-General from 1 March lacked integrity and transparency, a view reiterated during Mr Oettinger’s hearing.