Martin Selmayr, the outgoing European Commission secretary-general, will become the Commission's representative to Austria later this year. The College of Commissioners decided on the German official's move at their Wednesday meeting, according to two EU officials, APA reports.
Selmayr, who will rank as an hors classe adviser to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker until he takes up his new role in Vienna in November, had announced his swift resignation as the EU executive's highest-ranking civil servant in an interview with Playbook last week in Strasbourg. “I won’t stay in Brussels,” Selmayr told Playbook in the interview, adding he would move to Austria after taking a "long holiday."
Now the nature of his new role in Austria has become clear. A post as the European Commission's emissary to a small member state is certainly far cry from the influence Selmayr currently enjoys in the EU's top administration job. But the same would apply to any other post the EU could offer.
In the interview with Playbook, Selmayr indicated he felt he had worked hard enough “on the 12th and 13th floor” of the Commission's Berlaymont headquarters for one and a half decades as a spokesperson and head of Cabinet, as a campaign manager to Jean-Claude Juncker, and in his current position and now wants "a life."
The College of Commissioners, according to the Commission's chief spokesperson Mina Andreeva, "bid farewell, expressed gratitude and wished well to" Selmayr and two more departing senior officials, former chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas — who is Greece's proposed next commissioner — and Johannes Laitenberger, director general for competition, who will be a judge at the EU's General Court in Luxembourg.
Selmayr will take over as the European Commission's representative in Vienna from Jörg Wojahn, who'll move to Berlin to head the Commission's mission there, according to two EU officials. Current Berlin representative Richard Kühnel, meanwhile, will return to Brussels for a senior role at the Commission's directorate general for communication.
The College also decided about "arrangements ad interim," one official said, to replace Selmayr: As reported by Playbook, his deputy Ilze Juhanzone will take over as acting secretary-general, while it will be for the next College of Commissioners to decide about who to appoint on a permanent basis, the official said.