BRUSSELS, June 11 (Reuters) - 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, suggesting that Juncker’s Commission bid may not be successful.
Martin Selmayr, a senior Commission official who took unpaid leave to run Juncker’s campaign, has been appointed EU director in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Commission announced on Wednesday.
Selmayr, a German lawyer in his early 40s who rose rapidly in the Commission, was expected to become the head of Juncker’s office if he had secured the Commission presidency.
Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg, is not out of the running for the job, but Selmayr was regarded as a sharp campaign manager and his departure will be seen as a blow, indicating that Juncker’s bid is failing.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has lead 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 and sharpen its focus.
While Juncker has been chosen by Europe’s main centre-right political group as their candidate for the Commission, it is up to EU heads of state or government 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 they will nominate, with Cameron determined to raise backing from others 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. (Writing by Luke Baker; editing by Ralph Boulton)