Selmayr’s rise to top civil servant has been hotly debated since the appointment in February

The EU standards watchdog is escalating its investigation into the scandal-hit rise of Jean-Claude Juncker’s loathed sidekick Martin Selmayr, who was this year made Europe’s top civil servant.

Juncker sparked outrage in Feburary when he parachuted his political Chief of Staff into the hugely powerful role as Secretary General of the European Commission. There were rumours that commissioners’ support was bought.

Read more: Martin Selmayr’s Wiki page has been strangely edited since promotion

EU civil servants revolted over Selmayr’s lack of experience – the German lawyer, who has never worked in even the most junior official role, is now in charge of 33,000 non-political staff. Concerns were also voiced that Selmayr’s appointment entrenched German bias at the top of the EU

In dramatic developments, the EU Ombudsman has now ordered Juncker’s office to disclose documents relating to the appointment of Selmayr, as well as answer questions over the appointment. A letter from the Ombudsman to Juncker states:

“All documents, whether in electronic or paper format, including correspondence, notes, memos, emails, and all legal advice, from 1 September 2017 until 18 April 2018, relating to the appointment of the new Secretary-General. This should include documents sent from Commissioners to their cabinets, documents within and between cabinets, as well as documents between Commissioners/cabinets and the Commission services.”

Selmayr’s rise

The German-born 47-year-old had been appointed deputy secretary general at a meeting in February, just minutes before Juncker informed the 28 commissioners that the current secretary general, Alexander Italianer, from the Netherlands, was quitting. Juncker then told the commissioners that he would like Selmayr, a member of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union, to take Italianer’s place.

The college of commissioners, which had no previous discussion of the issue, was asked to make an immediate decision, and a press conference was organised shortly afterwards.