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Press release

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European Commission must get its act together on ethics

Selmayr scandal

Following a request from the Greens/EFA group, the European Parliament will today hold a debate on the recent appointment of Martin Selmayr as European Commission Secretary-General. In response to a series of problems regarding ethics and conflicts of interest in the European Commission, the Greens/EFA group has called for a postponement of the discharge of the European Commission's budget (see below for our full demands).

Greens/EFA member of the Budgetary Control committee Bart Staes comments:

“We need clarity over whether or not rules have been broken in this appointment. However, if this was by the book, then the book needs re-written. For such a senior position to be approved without any scrutiny makes a mockery of transparency and democracy in the Commission."

Greens/EFA co-president Philippe Lamberts adds:

"If one wants to restore the credibility of the European project, the rushed appointment of Martin Selmayr to head the 33,000 civil servants of the European Commission is the wrong way to go about it. Diversity of thinking, initiative and debate are greatly needed to make sure that the European Union serves the general interest. Parachuting in a party-political appointee, not exactly known for this tolerance towards dissent, runs completely counter to the collegiality that should characterize the Commission."


The Greens/EFA group is calling for:

  • Full scrutiny by the European Parliament of the appointment of Martin Selmayr, with the Budget Control Committee (CONT) to verify if the current rules were correctly applied
  • Open tenders for positions to become the norm in all levels of EU institutions, with exceptions for highest ranks to be removed from the rules
  • Decisions on staff by the college of Commissioners to be known by all Commissioners at least one week in advance
  • Proper and transparent selection procedures to apply in the European Parliament, Council and all EU institutions and bodies
  • The discharge of the Commission’s budget to be postponed to allow time for scrutiny

Next steps: The Budgetary Control committee is due to vote on the discharge on March 19-20,with the plenary vote currently scheduled for April.