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Commissioner mutiny grows as von der Leyen pushes by means of controversial rent

4 senior lieutenants aren’t comfortable on listening to that fellow CDU member Markus Pieper begins his taxpayer-funded duties subsequent week

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A revolt by senior EU commissioners regarding a controversial rent made by President Ursula von der Leyen exhibits no signal of abating, as Markus Pieper prepares to start out his profitable put up subsequent week.

MEPs and activists have known as for von der Leyen to rethink the appointment of Pieper, a member of her personal German Christian Democrat get together, who’s now anticipated to take up duties in his €17,000-per-month job of Envoy for Small and Medium Sized Companies subsequent week.

They had been joined by commissioners Josep Borrell, Thierry Breton, Paolo Gentiloni and Nicolas Schmit — who’ve raised considerations over transparency and collective decision-making, in a 27 March letter beforehand reported completely by Euronews.

The quartet seem unimpressed by an 8 April response to their letter from EU Human Assets Commissioner Johannes Hahn, seen by Euronews, which states that the choice to rent Pieper was “throughout the regular margin of discretion for such senior appointments”.

“This was not the purpose we raised in our letter,” mentioned the 4 commissioners in a response additionally seen by Euronews, reiterating their request to debate how to reply to European Parliament queries on the matter.

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The commissioners’ letter — which is, pointedly, addressed to von der Leyen fairly than Hahn, and seems to have been despatched on 8 April instantly after receiving Hahn’s response — additionally says that “a broader dialogue is warranted on the transparency and the collegiality of the method surrounding high-level appointments within the Fee.”

Commissioners are apprehensive von der Leyen, who’s bidding for a second time period in workplace, is hijacking the supposed collective duty of the EU govt’s highest resolution making physique, on condition that she tabled the Pieper appointment for a day on which Borrell and Breton had been set to be absent on official enterprise.

These involved about von der Leyen’s objectivity additionally cite her not too long ago naming Sauli Niinistö, the previous Finnish President who’s additionally a fellow member of the European Folks’s Occasion, to write down a report on defence coverage.

However Hahn mentioned the Pieper appointment “is totally in keeping with the Fee’s guidelines and established apply … all procedural necessities had been totally noticed.”

“The aim of every stage is to make sure that the perfect certified candidates move to the following one; there isn’t a rating on the remaining stage primarily based on the earlier phases,” Hahn added, addressing rumours that Pieper had been outperformed by two different feminine candidates earlier than being interviewed by von der Leyen’s personal chief of employees.

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Pieper “signed his employment contract on 31 March and he’s anticipated to take up duties on 16 April 2024,” Hahn mentioned.

On 4 April, European Fee Chief Spokesperson Eric Mamer instructed reporters that his understanding was that no contract had but been signed, however corrected his error the next day.

A European Parliamentary modification calling for the appointment to be rescinded is scheduled to be debated on Wednesday, and MEPs seem sad with the speeding by means of of the obvious case of political favouritism.

“This doesn’t look good in any respect,” Daniel Freund (Germany/Greens) instructed Euronews in an announcement, saying that the 16 April begin date prompt von der Leyen was “pushing this by means of in expedited process.”

“Jobs within the Fee need to be crammed primarily based on benefit,” Freund added. “If that wasn’t the case right here, the entire process must be repeated.”

One different candidate, MEP Martina Dlabajová (Czechia, Renew) has additionally raised a proper grievance with the Fee over the method, her workplace confirmed.

Requested if von der Leyen would maintain the talk requested by the 4 Commissioners, a Fee spokesperson mentioned it might be addressed beneath every other enterprise, and confirmed the 16 April begin date.

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