(Adds comment from campaign manager)
By Luke Baker
BRUSSELS, June 11 The manager of Jean-Claude
Juncker's campaign to become the next president of the European
Commission has accepted a job with an international financial
organisation in London, raising questions about Juncker's
Martin Selmayr, a senior Commission official who took unpaid
leave to run Juncker's election campaign, has been appointed EU
director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development, the Commission said on Wednesday.
Selmayr, a German lawyer who rose rapidly up the Commission
ranks, was expected to become chief of staff for Juncker if his
Commission bid is successful.
Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg, remains very
much in the running for the job, but Selmayr was regarded as a
sharp operator and his departure will be seen as a blow.
In comments posted on Twitter, Selmayr sought to play down
any such interpretation of his job announcement.
"You really think Juncker needs me to win? Believe in
democracy!" he said, adding: "(Juncker) will be next
ComPresident, i.e.: I'll work for him wherever I'll be located."
Selmayr's new appointment could also be seen as a move to
ensure he retains a position in the Commission, where a vast
number of jobs will change in the coming months.
He has already been appointed an adviser in the Commission's
economic and financial affairs department, a role he will take
up from July 1. The EBRD appointment is effectively a secondment
from that post and does not prevent him taking up a job with
Juncker if the Luxembourger does get the Commission presidency.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has led opposition to
Juncker, 59, describing him as a old-style federalist and not
the sort of modernizing influence Europe needs to overhaul how
the Commission works.
While Juncker has been chosen by Europe's centre-right
political group as their candidate for the Commission, it is up
to EU leaders to nominate him. He would then have to approved by
a majority in the European Parliament.
EU leaders will meet at a summit on June 26-27 to discuss
who to nominate, with Cameron determined to rally support to
block Juncker's candidacy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has
resolutely supported Juncker's bid.
If Juncker does not end up being appointed to the Commission
it is possible that he will be named as president of the
European Council, a critical role that involves chairing EU
summits and coordinating the policy positions of EU leaders.
(Editing by Ralph Boulton)