Alessandro Chiocchetti is the European Parliament’s new secretary-general, an influential job overseeing a staff of 8,000 and a budget of €2 billion.
The Parliament’s leadership finalised his appointment Monday night in a closed-door meeting, and Chiocchetti will begin his new role in January. The Parliament’s Bureau (which is made up of Metsola, her 14 deputies and five additional members known as quaestors) voted as expected — in favour of Metsola’ s own chief of staff.
Even professional cynics and long-time civil servants were appalled by the backroom deal that propelled Chiocchetti to post of Parliament’s top and best paid Eurocrat. Behind the scenes, Chiocchetti was a controversial candidate from the start.
As Parliament President Roberta Metsola’ s chief of staff, he was seen as the beneficiary of nepotism. He also benefited from secret horse-trading that saw the Parliament create new jobs to divide between group leaders.
While the outcome of the jobs race has been a done deal for ages, Parliament’s leadership gave Chiocchetti and his fellow shortlisted candidates a humiliating 10 minutes each to make their case on Monday.
Chiocchetti s three co-applicants were all director-generals in the Parliament and arguably more qualified than Metsola’ s man, given they already manage large numbers of staff, unlike Chiocchetti. But in news that won’t shock any of our readers, Chiocchetti emerged victorious.
Probably the other candidates didn’t bother spending too much time on their applications. They shouldn’t have trusted Metsola (who encouraged others to apply for the job and denied the existence of any backroom deal in favour of Chiocchetti), or group leaders such as Renew’s Stephane Sejour who insisted that any deal between political groups to carve up jobs was not tied to a specific name, yet whose group ended up backing Chiocchetti regardless.
A Parliament vice president and a former Finnish minister said: “The sordid saga to install Mr Chiocchetti as the new secretary-general of the European Parliament is bound to damage the Parliament’s reputation in the eyes of European citizens and representatives of other EU institutions,” she warned.
An already weak European Parliament, which has been largely absent on momentous EU decisions such as on the current energy crisis, is further weakened.
Who will listen to MEPs the next time they call out countries or EU institutions over cronyism?