Friday 5 December 2008

German conservative Klaus Welle new Secretary General of European Parliament

The successor of the "shut-up" - Secretary General of the European Parliament, Harald Rømer, will be from 15 March 2009 the German conservative Klaus Welle (Photo), as European Voice reports.

The Secretary General of the European Parliament is responsible for the administration of the European legislature, and since Welle had been SG of the European Peoples Party (EPP) as well as of the EPP-ED group in the European Parliament, and has lately served as the head of office of European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering (EPP; German christian-democrat), he looks at least experienced in leading administrative bodies, especially in and around the European Parliament.

Politically, Welle seems to be a true European for whom the European Union is "the last utopia", bring a "balance of interests on a supranational level" and "the protection of peace on the continent" (source). He is also fighting for a more democratic European Union, which, I hope, he will be able to push for in his new post.

However, critics call him "Prince of Darkness", because he seems to be in favour of a less transparent policy-making within the EP. Already 1 1/2 years ago, he was expected to take over the post of SG, not least because he was seen as one of the most influential figures within the Parliament. Yet,
"Across the board those who have come into contact with him praise his intelli-gence, dedication and political skill. They pay tribute to his almost unrivalled know-ledge of the Parliament and his devotion to work. “You could ring his office at midnight and he would still be there, working on some deal,” said one senior British MEP.
Altogether, it looks as if we will get an ambitious European conservative with strong political networks and the ability to use them tactically. Which means, we will get a politician for a semi-administrative post, which can be good or bad, depending on how he uses his position.

If he uses his skills for the good of the Union, we might be able to applaud him quite soon. If he remains the Prince of Darkness, a new "shut-up"-SG, then we might have to come back to the matter with a more negative note!

So let's wait and see...

Read also: Restructuring of the European Parliament Secretariat (07 May 2009)


Anonymous said...

I believe that the naming of Welle as S-G of the EP is a sad development as it is no testament of the achievements of the person being named, but rather yet another sign that political appointments of "Karl Rove figures" with no actual civil servant experience is becoming mainstream (MEP's hand-picked assistants currently being given status as temporary agents under the EC Staff Regulations is another). Welle did not start as an entry level official in the Parliament or any other EU institution after having passed a competition and then worked his way up the ladder, as opposed to his two predecessors on the post (who merely did shorter stints as S-G of party group organisations in order to advance). He has merely risen within the CDU and the EPP-ED group, and has nothing to show for outside those narrow compounds. His stint as Director for DG Internal Policies does not change this analysis as that was a political appointment and it did not last long enough for him to build any genuine grassroot support. A low-level soldier can easily accept saluting a general knowing that the general started out crawling in the mud, just as the soldier did, and then worked his way up the ladder. Welle does not deserve being saluted by the EP's officials, especially not those over the age of 44, which is Welle's age. Furthermore, with the new Staff Regulations of 2004, the officials from the new member states would have to work for a minimum of 20-25 years in order to reach the position of S-G. Welle is nothing but the result of political nepotism, and he will have to work really hard to earn any respect outside of the EPP-ED group.

Julien Frisch said...

Thanks for this comment, I think it as an excellent supplement to the article.