According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the German Uwe Corsepius will become the next Secretary General of the Council of the European Union.
Corsepius, who was mentioned as a candidate among others, has been confirmed by the heads of state and government at the European Council meeting on Friday, following agreements made on 19 November as Jean Quatremer knows. He will take over from Pierre de Boissieu in 1 1/2 years, as Angela Merkel informed at a press conference after the summit on Friday.
(UPDATE:) The formal approval of this decision was made on 22 December 2009 by the Council meeting (see the press release that uses parts of this blog post). According to this decision, Corsepius will serve as Secretary General from 26 June 2011 until 30 June 2015.
Economist Uwe Corsepius is 49 years old and is the head of the European Policy Division in the German Chancellery - he is thus the EU advisor of Angela Merkel and was, inter alia, responsible the for negotiations ahead of the Berlin Declaration during the German EU Council Presidency that led to the Lisbon Treaty. Jan Seifert wrote about him at the time as being one of the "sherpas" of Angela Merkel (here's a photo of him at the time).
On the website of the German politics and history channel Phoenix it is noted that he started his career in the Chancellery under Helmut Kohl and climbed up in the hierarchy under Gerhard Schröder. In 2005, Merkel made him head of the EU division in the Chancellery.
Three weeks ago, several German online news magazines published a short portrait (produced by DPA) about him, in which he is quoted with the words: "I am no visionary.", which would fit into the choices made with van Rompuy and Ashton, but which fits much better for the job he will have to do at the Council.
Actually, it seems that, according to several sources like EurActiv, Corsepius was also a possible candidate for Ashton's job, but didn't get it - probably for balance reasons as we know how Ashton was chosen. Therefore it is mentioned in the Frankfurter Rundschau that despite the choice of Corsepius for Council Secretary General, Merkel might still demand that a German becomes head of the European Central Bank - a clear sign that she is showing muscles after renouncing to get one of the three top posts (filled with Barroso, van Rompuy, and Ashton).
The amount of background information on Corsepius on the net is limited, but interesting to note is that Cecilia Malmström, Swedish Minster for EU Affairs and candidate for the next EU Commission, mentions Corsepius first in an a blog post about a visit to Berlin in April of this year. Usually he is described as "descrete", or as a person having relevant influence in German EU politics, for example preventing advancements in the negoations around the new anti-discrimination directive, as ZEIT online notices. In the Financial Times Germany, he is described as having a "boyish" face, with moments of "dash" behaviour. His only direct international experience, according to the FT, was his work at the IMF in the early 90s.
All in all, the choice of a national high level bureaucrat like Corsepius instead of an EU insider like de Boissieu is another clear indicator of the "Coup des Etats" I have criticised recently - member states are trying to secure their influence in the EU by the choice of personalities to counterbalance the new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty.
PS.: And if there are doubts, I'd just like to say that this choice is as bad as any other choice made by national leaders to secure their individual interests instead of promoting the good for all European citizens. These posts should be distributed according to merit, not according to geography and power considerations.
(Updated: 17 Dec 09; 12:30; 23 Dec 09 17:30)
Martin Schulz, avide de Commission
2 hours ago