Tuesday 22 May 2018

Beware puppetmaster Martin Selmayr, who is now pulling the strings of Europe

With the help of the obedient Jean-Claude Juncker, Selmayr has staged a coup, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Puppet and Master: Jean-Claude Juncker, left, with Martin Selmayr. Photo: Getty
Puppet and Master: Jean-Claude Juncker, left, with Martin Selmayr. Photo: Getty
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

'Faceless bureaucrats" is a frequent insult levelled at our rulers in Brussels but, latterly, we're getting to know them better. What with his tendency to over-enthusiastic conviviality and entertaining outbursts, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the Commission, is a star of many a YouTube clip.

The name of Michel Barnier - who has moved smoothly between French cabinets and EU jobs, and who was one of Juncker's special advisers when his boss appointed him "European Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union" - these days trips approvingly off the tongues of Irish nationalists and British Remainers, while being anathema to Leavers and EU reformers.

The Belgian Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's representative on Brexit, may be deeply unpopular in the United Kingdom but has been saying all the right things to Irish nationalists to stir the embers of Anglophobia.

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