Just like Junckers tricks! EU at war over preposterous new job costing billions

Mark Dolan slams European Parliament over Brexit claims

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Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg are debating who will be the new director-general of the Parliament’s administrative wing. The EPP candidate, Alessandro Chiocchetti, former assistant to Marcello Dell’Utri who was convicted and sentenced to prison for seven years for his ties with the Mafia, is already causing mayhem.

Mr Chiocchetti is currently the head of Cabinet for Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

His links to Silvio Berlusconi and his allies, including Mr Dell’Utri, are a source of controversy among MEPs.

His candidacy has prompted Sophie in ‘t Veld, leader of the Dutch Democrats 66 party in the European Parliament, to write a scathing letter to her Renew colleagues, saying she was “alarmed” by plans to appoint Mr Chiocchetti.

In her letter, Ms in ‘t Veld compared the EPP candidacy to former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s “trick” to appoint his own chief of staff as the Commission’s Secretary General, which at the time resulted very controversial.

She said: “When the European Commission used tricks to shuttle Selmayr into the office of EC Secretary General in 2018, this House was outraged and we had hearings and reports about the matter.

“The Parliament’s deal now seems to be little better than what the Commission did.”

She added: “The creation of a thirteenth DG is preposterous.

“If Parliament obtained additional means in the budget, surely that was for improving our capacity to deliver, not for creating more top jobs?

“I don’t really know how to explain this to my constituents, to be honest, and even less in times of crisis.”

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Parliament is assigned more than €2billion (£1.7billion) per year but MEPs are asking for more money to fill up new positions – something that is concerning the EU Council and leaders of member states.

Back in 2018, Mr Juncker appointed Martin Selmayr to the secretary-general position.

The European Ombudsman later found that the former Commission leader had “stretched and possibly even overstretched the limits of the law”.

Emily O’Reilly said that Mr Selmayr was given a position that he was not qualified to fill.

The EU’s top watchdog found the entire 28-member Commission at fault for the acts of maladministration.

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The investigation against Mr Selmayr’s appointment was urged by the European Parliament at the time.

Ms O’Reilly wrote: “The Ombudsman wishes to highlight that an assessment of Mr Selmayr himself did not form any part of her inquiry.

“The Ombudsman understands that not only is he a competent EU official but one highly committed to the European Union. He is also someone who has earned and maintained the trust of President Juncker.

“It is however somewhat ironic that President Juncker was the first Commission President elected via the ‘Spitzenkandidaten’ democratic process, assisted by Mr Selmayr.

“This transparent democratic process … is designed, in part, to counter false claims that the EU is run by unelected officials in Brussels.”

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