February 21, 2018 / 10:12 AM / in 6 months

Top aide of EU Commission head becomes chief civil servant

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission appointed on Wednesday the head of President Jean-Claude Juncker’s cabinet, Martin Selmayr, as the new Secretary-General of the Commission — the highest civil servant job in the EU executive.

The surprise appointment means that Selmayr, seen as one of the most powerful and controversial players in Brussels institutions, could remain in the Commission even after Juncker’s term ends late in 2019.

“The College has decided to appoint Martin Selmayr, the current head of cabinet of the President, as the new Secretary-General of the Commission,” the Commission said in a statement.

“This decision will take effect on 1 March. At the same time, President Juncker has decided that his current Deputy Head of Cabinet, Clara Martinez Alberola, will become his new Head of Cabinet,” the Commission said.

Speaking at a news conference to announce the appointment, Juncker noted however that the next head of the EU Commission would have to confirm whether to keep Selmayr in the job.

“The next president will confirm who the next secretary-general is,” Juncker said.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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