Jean Claude-Juncker: who pulls the strings?

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is without doubt one of Great Britain's finest investigative journalists. Also, given that he exposed the corruption of the Clinton administration, particularly the Whitewater scandal and the highly suspicious former deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster, allegedly the former lover of Hillary Clinton, and the man who was possibly the key to unblocking the secrecy surrounding the issue, he is a very brave man indeed. 

However, just this once I will disagree with him, writes EU Today publisher Gary Cartwright.

In a recent op-ed Ambrose asks if Juncker is "playing a dangerous game of chicken with Italy's populists" (Daily Telegraph, Oct 3rd 2018), postulating that the president of the European Commission may be behind manipulation of Italian money markets in order to "punish" Italian "rebels"  aka "Eurosceptics" such as Matteo Salvini. 

It is, in fact, highly questionable as to whether Juncker is behind this, or indeed any other Commission initiative, or if he even knows what day it is, not that he may even care about such details as he apparently drifts through life in an alcoholic haze.

Juncker became President of the Commission as a result of a typical Brussels carve-up in which in return for the socialists shoe-horning the former German book seller Martin Schulz, once described by Silvio Berlesconi as somebody who would make an excellent "capo" (concentration camp guard) into a second term as President of the European Parliament, the European People's Party (EPP) would be granted the presidency of the Commission.

But Juncker? Everybody in the Brussels bubble has a favourite story to tell about the man who is often referred to as Jean-Claude Drunker.

His drunken antics include slapping senior politicians in public, and causing a scandal during an audience with the Pope.

Two questions arise: firstly, who took the decision to appoint him, and secondly, given his behaviour, and questions concerning his involvement in alleged tax scams in Luxembourg, who is it who has the influence to keep him in office?

Perhaps we might look a little more carefully at Martin Selmayr, a German-Belgian civil servant who has been the Secretary-General of the European Commission since 1 March 2018.

Martin Selmayr

Previously, he was Chief of Staff to Juncker, and had also worked as Juncker's campaign director and head of transition before he took office. 

Following his appointment as Juncker's chief of staff, Selmayr was widely described as one of the most influential figures within the Commission.

Within the European Parliament there has been much debate about, and criticism of, the appointment of Selmayr. Juncker, however, has always rallied to his defence.

Selmayr and Juncker - who is the boss, and who is the puppet? And whose agenda is the boss working to?


Image of Martin Selayr By Saeima - Ārlietu komisijas deputāti tiekas ar Eiropas Komisijas ģenerālsekretāri un Eiropas Komisijas priekšsēdētāja biroja vadītāju, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Read also: Government of Luxembourg sanctioned illegal tax aid - anything to say, Mr Juncker?

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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