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The new secretary-general of the European Commission, Martin Selmayr, waits for the start of a meeting at EU headquarters, Brussels, March 7, 2018 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

A Scandal in Brussels Captures Everything Europhobes Can’t Stand About the EU

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Italy’s elections on Sunday refocused global attention on the challenges facing the European Union, as populist, euroskeptic parties combined to win a majority of votes. But a less-noticed scandal over a bureaucratic appointment in Brussels might offer a better explanation of just what is driving the voter backlash against the union.

So far the scandal has barely registered a blip on the radar for anyone besides close EU-watchers, but it is in many ways emblematic of everything Brussels’ critics say is wrong with the bloc. It revolves around Martin Selmayr, the former chief of staff to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who was promoted in late February to serve as secretary-general of the commission. That would hardly register as news out of Brussels even on a slow day. But a steady drip of revelations and leaks since then has made it increasingly clear that the EU subverted its own strict rules regarding hiring and promotions in order to parachute Selmayr into the post. ...

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