Brussels, 16 May 2017

Note to the attention of Mr Martin Selmayr, Head of President Juncker’s Cabinet,

and Mr Alexander Italianer, Secretary-General of the Commission


Subject :    Appointment of a member of Mr Moscovici’s cabinet to a management position at DG TAXUD

Ref:            Our notes to your attention, dated 06 February and 22 March 2017

Your statements under item 7.12 of the minutes of the Heads of Cabinet’s meeting held on 30 January 2017 concerning the appointment of Cabinet members to management positions


By our abovementioned notes, we wished to thank you for your statements, which aimed at highlighting the inacceptable nature of the “parachuting” by members of cabinets, which R&D has always denounced, and we have asked you to further pursue on this right track.


Your statements at the weekly meeting of Heads of Cabinet held on 30 January 2017

On this occasion, you confirmed that:

“Shall not be allowed”:

– “the appointment of Cabinet members to management positions in the Directorate-General operating under their portfolio and placed under their direct supervision.”


In support to these instructions, you rightly pointed out that:

“These practices are demotivating for the rest of the staff who doesn’t get promoted as fast as the Cabinet members.”


The staff’s reactions, more than sceptical

We told you about the deep scepticism of our colleagues as to the effective scope of your statements: their reactions allowed us to gather a fairly complete collection of proverbs on the credulity topic… “we no longer believe in Santa Claus”, “promises are only valid for those who want to believe it” … “staff is not a fool!”

In other words, no one believes that things are actually going to change…


The R&D response

In response to the staff’s lack of confidence, R&D had indicated that we could not imagine that such clear positions coming from the Head of the President’s Cabinet and the Secretary-General would not be subsequently implemented.

Moreover, in our note of 22 March 2017, we reported that staff was expressing way more than its scepticism: many colleagues had told us that the  difficulty to believe in your commitment and the extent of these “parachuting” were actually  supported by the fact that “landing posts” were already blocked or released for this purpose, sometimes very expeditiously, in the organisation charts.

And we had indicated that this would concern DG TAXUD. This is how Mr Quest ended up being among the recipients in copy to our note.

In this respect, given the certainty that this management position would have been reserved for a member of the Moscovici’s Cabinet, and also for fear of being accused of “disturbing” the smooth running of the proceedings, many colleagues had reported us their decision not to even submit their application though they had all the skills required.


The appointment of a member of the Moscovici’s Cabinet to a management post in DG TAXUD

As we indicated, a member of the Moscovici’s Cabinet was appointed to the post of DG TAXUD on 16 April.

Mr Moscovici is the Commissioner responsible for DG TAXUD ( link ), whose services depend on his portfolio and are placed under his direct supervision.

It should be reminded thus, once again, that in your abovementioned declarations you indicated that “the appointment of Cabinet members to management positions in the Directorate-General operating under their portfolio and placed under their direct supervision” was not allowed.

Needless to say that, at the announcement of this appointment, we were flooded with countless reactions and requests for explanations: we were accused of having been incredibly naïve for believing that your statements would actually be followed by action…

Moreover, in view of the abovementioned context in which this procedure was published, it would not be surprising if the cabinet member approached and then appointed to that post would in reality have been the only candidate to apply. In such a case there can be no doubt that it would then be up to the Appointing Authority to check the reasons for the absence of any other candidature for that post.


Given the above, and in order to be able to answer to the undeniably pertinent questions of our colleagues, we would much appreciate if you could let us know whether you believe that this appointment  could be in any way compatible with your statements.

We would like to remind you once again that for R&D, as in the present case, it was never about doubting or questioning the merits of our Cabinet colleagues. It was about defending the credibility of our institution and its procedures, as well as taking into account the devastating effects of these practices on the motivation of the rest of the staff, as you have so clearly highlighted in your statements.


Cristiano Sebastiani


CC : Mr Oettinger Vice-President of the Commission

Mrs Souka, Mr C. Levasseur, Mr C. Roques DG HR

Mr S. Quest, DG TAXUD

Commission Staff