Martin Selmayr shortlisted to be EU’s man in DC (or New York)
The one-time top European Commission official could be the EU’s next ambassador to the US or UN, two officials told POLITICO.
The “Monster of the Berlaymont” might be staging a comeback — in the U.S.
Martin Selmayr — once a powerful figure atop the EU’s executive institution — has been shortlisted to become the EU ambassador to either the U.S. or the United Nations, two officials told POLITICO.
Selmayr currently heads the European Commission’s office in Austria, a role he took after helming the EU executive’s massive civil service during Jean-Claude Juncker’s presidency. He also served as Junker’s influential chief of staff for four years.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel decisions, indicated that while Selmayr is in the running to helm either the EU’s delegation in Washington, D.C., or move to New York, he is not a shoo-in.
Selmayr has long been a controversial figure in Brussels, where he was considered one of the EU’s most pivotal behind-the-scenes operators. He helped push the EU’s agenda as the bloc doubled down on links to Russian gas — a move that is now being rapidly reversed.
Selmayr’s 2018 promotion to become the Commission secretary-general — which oversees the institution’s large civil service — caused uproar in Brussels at the time, fueling accusations that procedures were bent to get him to the top job.
Now, Selmayr could soon see himself back in a prominent role, albeit one far from Brussels.
Both the EU posts in D.C. and New York are up for grabs as the current ambassadors are nearing the end of their terms.
The EU’s ambassador to Washington, Greek diplomat Stavros Lambrinidis, and his Swedish colleague at the U.N., Olof Skoog, have been in office since 2019. And, according to EU standard practice, diplomats rotate out every four years.
According to the EU’s own guidelines, ambassadors are appointed by the presidents of the Council and Commission, following a proposal from the EU’s foreign policy chief.
The European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic arm, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.