September 26, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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The 'unwelcome saga' over the appointment of a high-ranking official 'damages the image of the European Parliament'

The ‘unwelcome saga’ over the appointment of a high-ranking official ‘damages the image of the European Parliament’

Roberta Mezzola, President of the European Parliament, has pushed by appointing her head of government, Alessandro Ciuschetti, to the position of a senior official. The selection criteria for the job were adapted to fit.

A ten-minute “job interview” on Monday evening was enough for 20 members of the European Parliament’s office to conclude that Alessandro Chiocchetti was the right person to become the institution’s new Secretary-General. The Italian, coming from Silvio Berlusconi’s stable and holding the signature of Executive Vice President, will succeed German Klaus Welle on January 1, 2023.

The choice of Chiuschetti has already been decided in July. At the beginning of January, he became Chief of Staff to President Roberta Mezzola. The Maltese then put him as the main candidate for the highest office. Politico She revealed at the time that even the selection criteria had been modified for this: normally a civil servant would have to have a grade of A16 to be able to hold the position, but now A15 was also sufficient – the grade an Italian got after promotion.

The agency approved the appointment “by a large majority,” according to a press release. It consists of Mitsula himself, fourteen vice presidents and five presidents.

To indicate that they considered this approach “not done,” the Social Democrats (S&D) and the Greens agreed to abstain. But two of the five S&Ders – one Italian and one Greek – voted for Chiocchetti, as did members of the bureau of liberal Renew, the radical left GUE and the conservative ECR faction.

“Not tasty saga”

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S&D party leader Iratxe Garcia argued in vain for the decision to be delayed. She talks about “an unjustified emergency action that damages the image of the institution. As a result, it has not been possible to organize proper and transparent hearings for the most relevant function of our management.”

Heidi Ottala, a Finnish MEP, was the only one to vote against in the office because she found the measure completely inappropriate. She speaks of “a hateful saga that cannot but damage the reputation of Parliament in the eyes of European citizens and other European institutions”.

damage to credibility

The political appointment was so painful because in 2018 the European Parliament argued fiercely against then-President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. Luxemburger blasted his chief of staff, Martin Selmayr, into a senior commission official in one day with a double promotion.

In a resolution, MEPs spoke of a “kind of coup”. They called on “all EU institutions to end the “landing” of people in positions, as such practices can damage the union’s credibility.