Ongoing recruitment of Director General for Enlargement raises concerns

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BRUSSELS – The selection procedure for the new Director General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission is underway and, at the beginning of the week, Politics expressed concern about a potential candidate, Poland’s permanent representative to the European Union, Andrzej Sadoś, questioning his willingness to insist on the rule of law and democratic standards in candidate countries. EU.

The Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) is responsible for helping countries with the prospect of joining the EU to meet the necessary criteria, monitoring their progress and supporting accession negotiations as required by the Board. The DG manages the Union’s bilateral relations with candidate and potential candidate countries on their way to the EU.

The Director General manages the work of DG NEAR. This role has been vacant since Christian Danielsson left it in July 2020 after nearly seven years in the role. Former assistant general manager Maciej Popowski served as interim general manager until the appointment of the new one.

The College of the European Commission, composed of all members, decided to fill a vacancy in June 2021, the decision having been published in the Official Journal in July.

The selection procedure is currently underway. In accordance with applicable rules and guidelines and to protect the Commission’s decision-making procedures as well as personal data, no details can be provided regarding the status of the procedure or the applicants, European Commission spokespersons said. European Western Balkans.

Our portal has also been informed that at the end of the selection procedure, the appointment decision will be taken by the College on the proposal of the Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, in agreement with President Ursula von der Leyen after consultation with Portfolio Commissioner Olivier Várhelyi.

However, Politics reported this week that, according to two officials, Sadoś has applied to become Director General of DG NEAR.

According to Politics, oProponents of giving the job to Sadoś claim that seeing him with (Olivér) Várhelyi heading DG NEAR would seriously undermine efforts to promote democracy and the rule of law in the EU neighbourhood, particularly in countries wishing to be part of an enlarged Union.

“Várhelyi and Sadoś – who are close friends – both have close ties to their home governments, which are accused by European institutions of backsliding on democratic standards,” the magazine reported.

Answer the question by Politics, Sadoś underlined that Poland remains committed to the high standards of the membership criteria.

“Decisions in the enlargement process and accession negotiations are taken unanimously, and Poland, together with other member states, sets the high standards…related to the rule of law, democratization, good governance, the fight against corruption, etc.”, he declared.

It’s not the first time that Politics tackles the operation of the enlargement services of the European Commission. In October 2021, the point of sale reported that, according to more than a dozen officials from several institutions and an analysis of internal documents, Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi oversaw a campaign to downplay rule of law and human rights concerns among candidates for EU membership

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