The “monster” of Juncker, promoted to a key post in Brussels

Ⓒ AFP/Archivos – John Thys – | Martin Selmayr, until now chief of staff of the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, arrives at a meeting of the Eurogroup on May 11, 2015 in Brussels

Martin Selmayr, the powerful chief of staff of the president of the European Commission, was promoted on Wednesday to the secretary general of the community executive, a movement that promotes the Spanish Clara Martinez as Jean-Claude Juncker’s right-hand man.

The 47-year-old German, nicknamed the “monster” by Juncker himself, is considered the guardian of the office of the head of the Commission since his arrival in the presidency in November 2014, but has also been at the center of controversies .

Selmayr, a lawyer born in 1970 in the capital of the then Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn, and an official of the community executive since 2004, will replace the Dutch Alexander Italianer who was in charge of the highest official position of the Commission since 2015.

“I proposed to the College of Commissioners (…) to appoint Martin Selmayr, my chief of staff, as general secretary of the Commission,” Juncker told a news conference, stating that he will assume the new functions on March 1.

The head of the Commission also announced that Clara Martinez, a jurist born in the Spanish city of Valencia (east) in 1963, will become his new right-hand man, highlighting his fine knowledge of community dossiers.

“This is the first time that a Spanish citizen has become the head of the cabinet and the first woman to occupy that position,” said the former Luxembourg Prime Minister, who must leave office at the end of 2019.

The new secretary general, in his beginnings in the Commission, as spokesman for the Commissioner of Information Society and Media Viviane Reding, before becoming his right hand in 2010, when the Luxembourg assumed the portfolio of Justice.

Selmayr, very active in social networks, has not hesitated to come out in defense of his boss and was the first to announce in December the news of an agreement between Juncker and the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, on the terms of the withdrawal from the United Kingdom of the EU.

However, two months earlier, he was at the point of looking for allegedly leaking details of a dinner between May and Juncker to unblock negotiations with a German newspaper. On Twitter, the German denied it, calling the accusations an “attempt to undermine the unity of the EU.”

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