UH OH: EU's 'MONSTER' eyes role as Brexit trade negotiator - and will 'GO HARD' on UK

Daily Express :: Politics Feed
UH OH: EU's 'MONSTER' eyes role as Brexit trade negotiator - and will 'GO HARD' on UK

Sources in Brussels say Martin Selmayr is positioning himself to succeed Michel Barnier, The Sun reports. As Secretary-General of the European Commission, Mr Selmayr currently serves as the EU’s top civil servant and is responsible for no deal planning. But he would reportedly “go hard” on Britain in trade talks if he took over from Mr Barnier in a bid to cement his position as a key player in Brussels.

However the Commission has vehemently denied the rumours, which are said to be widely circulating in the Belgian capital, and insisted Mr Selmayr has no interest in taking on the role.

The 48-year-old German lawyer has previously branded Britain’s decision to leave the EU as “stupid” and sparked outrage earlier this year when his promotion to one of the EU’s top jobs was fast-tracked by his pal Jean-Claude Juncker.

He had previously served as Mr Juncker’s chief of staff - a role in which he earned the nickname “the monster” for his fearsome reputation as the Commission boss’s enforcer.

A subsequent investigation into the circumstances surrounding his promotion concluded his sudden jump from his job with Mr Juncker to the EU’s chief civil servant had “stretched and possibly even overstretched the limits of the law”.

And although the findings of the probe had no effect on his job, Brussels insiders say he is likely to be forced out of the role when Mr Juncker retires next November.

The Sun reported an EU source as saying: "Selmayr wants to send Barnier off into the horizon and leave it open who will head up trade negotiations with the UK.

"He’s very keen to take that position for himself."

Michel Barnier has served as the Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator shortly after Britain voted to quit the EU in June 2016.

He has ruled himself out of standing as Mr Juncker’s replacement saying he would rather focus his energy on Brexit and planned to stay in his post until the talks are completed.

A Commission spokesman said: "The Article 50 process is not yet completed so it is premature to speculate about what happens afterwards.

"Mr Selmayr has a very fulfilling job as the Commission’s Secretary-General.

"He is not interested in becoming Brexit negotiator, but supports day and night the important efforts of Michel Barnier, the Commission’s chief negotiator.

"He has zero interest to become EU ambassador to London."

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