The EU Ombudsman closed her investigation on the controversial lightning transport of German Martin Selmayr to the top EU official with a complaint. The appointment did not comply with EU law, "neither the letter nor the spirit," said Ombudswoman Emily O'Reilly. Their recommendations were ignored by the Commission. That was "very regrettable". EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger, responsible for human resources, replied
note O'Reilly's statement, but still represent
another view. Selmayr's appeal complied with all relevant rules.
Selmayr had become Secretary-General of the Brussels Authority in February 2018 – the most important one
Administrative post in the executive branch of the EU. Previously, he was Cabinet Chairman of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, His new job was not advertised, although Juncker knew months before that the incumbent would retire. Instead, the post of Vice Secretary-General was advertised. Selmayr applied and got the job. Only then did Juncker announce, surprisingly, the retirement of the Secretary-General, and Selmayr moved within a few minutes to the chief post.
The procedure triggered criticism. Ultimately, the suspicion was in the room, Juncker had stabbed his confidant the top posts. The Commission stated that it had complied with all the rules. However, the European Parliament came to the conclusion that the type of appeal "could be seen as a coup-like action". The European Parliament committee called for the EU Commission to change their promotion rules so that application procedures will be "open and transparent" in the future.
Ombudsman O'Reilly had already made serious allegations following a preliminary investigation in September. She spoke of maladministration and a break in the relevant rules. She also called for a change in the appeal procedure and a call for tenders. The process uses a cliché that is often heard publicly, according to which EU officials simply do what they want without a supervisory body.