Ilze Juhansone appointed European Commission's secretary-general

  • 2020-01-15
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Ilze Juhansone has been appointed the European Commission's secretary-general, according to a Twitter post by Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity).

The minister congratulated Juhansone on her new post, adding that the College of Commissioners has made an excellent choice, and it proves Juhansone's ability and experience in European and administrative affairs.

Juhansone has been the Commission's acting secretary-general since the resignation of Martin Selmayr last summer. 

Juhansone has used the intervening time to move from outsider to frontrunner in the race for the permanent appointment as the Commission's most senior civil servant, Politico internet portal said earlier.

Formerly Latvia's ambassador to the EU, Juhansone joined the Commission from Latvia's diplomatic service in 2015, becoming deputy secretary-general.

Coming from a relatively small EU country and not having spent all her working life inside the Commission were seen by some as harming Juhansone's chances of clinching the top job on a permanent basis.

But she swiftly established a good working relationship with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, whom she helped transition into her new role.

Other candidates who applied for the job included Jean-Eric Paquet, the Frenchman at the helm of the Commission’s directorate-general for Research and Innovation, and Spaniard Daniel Calleja Crespo, who heads the environment department. Only directors-general were allowed to apply, according to the job ad.