The European Parliament had been asking for him to leave since more than a year.
Commission President designate Ursula von der Leyen is struggling to convince Southern Europe. The French and Belgian socialists, but also some centrist forces, all the Greens and the whole radical left refuse to endorse her candidacy. Her election could be made possible by the support of some extreme right-wing voices, including Lega MEPs.
Faced with these uncertainties, and in order to obtain more than the 374 votes required to be elected, the German candidate responded to her detractors with soft promises. On the climate or social issues or the Spitzenkandidaten, she tried to reassure her critics.
But it was probably by confirming on Monday evening before the elected representatives of the EPP that the Secretary General of the European Commission, Martin Selmayr, has to leave as soon as possible, that the German scored a point.
On several occasions, the European Parliament has asked for the head of Jean-Claude Juncker’s former head of cabinet, appointed under express and debatable conditions to the General Secretariat of the European Executive.
Moreover, it is impossible for two Germans to manage the European executive, and the candidacy of Olivier Guersent, former Chief of Staff of Michel Barnier, currently head of the Directorate General for Financial Stability, could balance the omnipresence of Germans in the European institutions.
By urgently getting rid of Martin Selmayr, Von der Leyen would have tried the utmost for securing her election. On the French side, the expectation is that Selmayr should have left Brussels by the end of the week.