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Today, 21 November 2012, the European Parliament (EP) backed during its plenary session Tonio Borg to be the next EU Commissioner for health, in replacement of John Dalli, who resigned in October.

Previously, Tonio Borg held the posts of the Deputy Prime Minister of Malta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of the Maltese House of Representatives, belonging to the Nationalist Party (conservatives). A lawyer by training, Mr. Borg is a very experienced politician who impressed Members of the EP and ECC representatives with his knowledge,  composure and preparedness when he was grilled by the EP during his hearing, on 13 November in Brussels.

Mr. Borg’s nomination for an EU post trigerred some vivid negative reactions from European civil societies and politicians because of his catholic conservative views on several social subjects: he had proposed to entrench into the Maltese Constitution the sections of the law banning abortion (a criminal offence in Malta). In Parliament, he voted against the introduction of a divorce law, despite it being upheld in a consultative referendum. Borg also spoke out in 2009 against including cohabiting couples (either heterosexual or homosexual) as beneficiaries to legislation enacted around the time of the Second World War intended to protect tenants during the housing shortage of the time.

ECC hopes that this nomination will allow a swift development of the new European Tobacco Product Directive that tobacco control supporters have been waiting for long.

(photo: European Commission audiovisual services)
November 21st, 2012 | Published in EU Policy, Tobacco control,