News | World News | England fans fume on Twitter after secretary general of the European Commission 'trolls' fans

England fans fume on Twitter after secretary general of the European Commission 'trolls' fans

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England fans fume on Twitter after secretary general of the European Commission posts 'pathetic' message 'trolling' Three Lions after their defeat to EU member Croatia

  • Martin Selmayr, Secretary General of European Commission, attacked for tweet
  • He posted footballs and EU flags right after England's loss, which offended some
  • But Mr Selmayr posted an almost identical tweet after England defeated Sweden

By Alexander Robertson For Mailonline

Published: 20:55 EDT, 11 July 2018 | Updated: 04:22 EDT, 12 July 2018

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A senior Brussels official provoked outrage last night with a tweet that appeared to mock England’s exit from the World Cup.

Martin Selmayr, secretary general of the European Commission, posted a series of EU flags and football emojis just minutes after the end of the match in Moscow.

Fans interpreted the message as a dig at England because it seemingly referred to the fact that two EU countries – France and Croatia – had made it to the final.

Mr Selmayr, however, posted an almost identical tweet on Saturday after Croatia and England reached the semi-finals.

Martin Selmayr, secretary general of the European Commission, posted a series of EU flags and football emojis just minutes after the end of the match in Moscow
Martin Selmayr, secretary general of the European Commission, posted a series of EU flags and football emojis just minutes after the end of the match in Moscow

Martin Selmayr, secretary general of the European Commission, posted a series of EU flags and football emojis just minutes after the end of the match in Moscow

Fans interpreted the message as a dig at England because it seemingly referred to the fact that two EU countries – France and Croatia – had made it to the final
Fans interpreted the message as a dig at England because it seemingly referred to the fact that two EU countries – France and Croatia – had made it to the final

Fans interpreted the message as a dig at England because it seemingly referred to the fact that two EU countries – France and Croatia – had made it to the final

Members of Parliament Tim Farron and Nadine Dorries were among those to pour scorn on Selmayr after his tweet
Members of Parliament Tim Farron and Nadine Dorries were among those to pour scorn on Selmayr after his tweet

Members of Parliament Tim Farron and Nadine Dorries were among those to pour scorn on Selmayr after his tweet

Members of Parliament Tim Farron and Nadine Dorries were among those to pour scorn on Selmayr after his tweet, as were Three Lions fans. 

‘Absolutely pathetic – you are the lowest of the low,’ wrote one supporter. 

‘This is one way to alienate pro European British people like me – you are a disgrace.’

Another critic added: ‘A disgraceful tweet that absolutely epitomises why the UK is leaving the EU.

‘You deserve credit for exemplifying the sheer arrogance of unelected bureaucrats so well!’

A third commented: ‘Class is something you are born with. Is it any wonder most Brits voted to say goodbye to the EU with people like you helping to run it and showing absolutely no class whatsoever.’ 

One critic said: ‘A disgraceful tweet that absolutely epitomises why the UK is leaving the EU.' Pictured: England players after their defeat 
One critic said: ‘A disgraceful tweet that absolutely epitomises why the UK is leaving the EU.' Pictured: England players after their defeat 

One critic said: ‘A disgraceful tweet that absolutely epitomises why the UK is leaving the EU.' Pictured: England players after their defeat 

In contrast, Prince William posted a tweet saying he ‘couldn’t be more proud’ of the England team after the semi-final defeat.

Mr Selmayr, has developed a fearsome reputation in Brussels, casting an authoritarian reign as Mr Juncker's chief of staff despite remaining relatively unknown to the public.

But his brutal style of ruling - demanding that access to Mr Juncker for even the most senior EU officials is first channelled through him - has also led to a queue of enemies.

His style has led to a variety of nicknames by colleagues, including 'darth vader' and 'rasputin'.

Former European Commission vice president Kristalina Georgieva blamed her resignation on his aggressive style, which she branded 'poisonous'.

British officials have accused Mr Selmayr, who has privately expressed his dislike of Brexit, of 'hating' the UK while describing him as a 'psychopath'.

The leaky bully-boy who wields more power than many EU leaders

If Eurosceptics had wanted to create someone who embodies the darkest impulses of the EU, they could not have come up with a more sinister figure than the German bureaucrat Martin Selmayr.

As the Chief of Staff to the bibulous EU President Jean-Claude Juncker, he is notorious both for his ruthless, bullying methods and his fanatical devotion to the ideology of European unification. Indeed, he’s known as the ‘Rasputin of Brussels’.

Wielding more power than many national leaders, 46-year-old Selmayr offers proof the EU is a vast machine that rides roughshod over democracy in its quest to build the German-led superstate. 

For Selmayr, nothing should stand in the way of this goal.

Anyone who challenges the creed of integration is treated as a heretic. That is why he has long been so hostile to Britain, which has shown far too great a spirit of independence.

Affronted by Brexit, he’s a key architect of the EU’s punishment strategy, compromising a refusal to negotiate constructively on one hand and, on the other, an extortionate demand for a so-called ‘divorce’ settlement.

His attitude makes it believable that he was behind the damaging leak about the May/Juncker dinner.

Selmayr angrily denied he was behind this character assassination.

Yet it seems to fit his anti-British agenda, as well as his record as an intriguer and manipulator.

It’s not the first time he’s been accused of leaking to the press to undermine the British side in Brexit negotiations. Selmayr’s attitude may have been triggered by an incident in his youth, when he was briefly a student in London.

One evening in 1993, he went to hear Margaret Thatcher speak at an event to promote her memoirs. 

Although he bought a signed copy, he was appalled to hear her attack the dream of European integration. He came away with a sense that ‘there is a big misunderstanding between Britain and the EU’. 

Contemptuous of national borders, laws, self-governance and identity, Selmayr is the classic European ideologue bent. Like one of Robespierre’s unyielding revolutionaries during his French Reign of Terror, he is a political zealot, renowned for his dedication and brutality.

Juncker, never one distinguished by his own work-rate, calls him, only half-jokingly, ‘the Monster’.

His commitment is matched by his merciless intimidation which has created its own reign of fear in Brussels.

He thrives on such a reputation, boasting that he keeps the Commission and its 35,000 staff under control. As for his Rasputin nickname, he says: ‘If it means there is an efficient manager, somebody who is not a wimp, I’m OK with that.’ Others are not so happy.

In 2016, Kristalina Georgieva, the EU’s Budget Commissioner from Bulgaria, cited the ‘poisonous’ atmosphere that Selmayr created.

A central part of the problem is Selmayr – a lawyer by training – often acts like the Commission President himself. 

One spoof Twitter account joked that Selmayr is now the ‘Chef de drinks cabinet’ for Juncker, but that is a gross misreading of the real situation. 

With typical ambition, Selmayr has exploited his boss’s absences to acquire more political authority than any official in EU history. This, in turn, feeds his epic self-importance. 

Do you know the difference between Selmayr and God? God knows that he’s not Selmayr
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble 

‘Do you know the difference between Selmayr and God?’ the long-serving German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble once said. ‘God knows that he’s not Selmayr.’

That spectacular egotism often comes across as political thuggery.

As with so many authoritarians, Selmayr seems to believe that the end justifies the means. In his case, the end is the creation of a united, federal Europe. 

He claims his belief in this vision was fired as a schoolboy, when his maternal grandfather Heinz Gaedecke took him to the First World War battlefields and military cemeteries of the western front, including those at Verdun.

The lesson that young Selmayr absorbed from this trip was that Europe must unify to avoid the blood-soaked lessons of the past.

But Selmayr also had a direct family connection to the darkest episode in Germany’s history. During the Second World War his grandfather was a Lieutenant Colonel on the Wehrmacht’s staff in the Balkans where he won three bravery awards – including the Iron Cross, first and second class.

After the Allies’ victory, Josef Selmayr was tried by a British military tribunal for war crimes, found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He served only five years, and on his release helped to create West German military intelligence. 

This painful family experience gives Selmayr another link with Juncker, whose father was conscripted into the Wehrmacht.

But Martin’s own upbringing was far less clouded by conflict. He has been accused of ‘bossy, whip-smart legalism’ – his lawyer father was an adviser to the office of the German President. Selmayr joined the EU’s bureaucracy in 2004 at the age of 34.

Ferociously ambitious, Selmayr spotted the potential of working for Juncker, whose spongy, erratic character was part of his appeal, as it gave far more scope for his chief of staff to have influence. 

Juncker duly became EU President in 2014, despite a strong campaign against his candidacy by David Cameron. His henchman Selmayr has been thwarting Britain ever since. He wants victory for the EU and humiliation for us.

He was one of the diehard opponents of any concessions being granted to Cameron last year during negotiations for a new British relationship. He is just as uncompromising today over Brexit. 

But our Government cannot give in to this Teutonic oppression. Martin Selmayr’s undemocratic antics must not be allowed to deny us our freedom and sovereignty.

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