Commission nominee - Reservations surrounding Borg's appointment must lead to guarantees on respect for EU values
The European Parliament today voted to confirm the nomination of Tonio Borg to replace John Dalli as EU commissioner, despite significant opposition from MEPs. The Greens/EFA group, which voted against the candidacy of Tonio Borg, expressed its regret but stressed the need for Mr Borg to promote EU values and principles as commissioner, whilst delivering on some of the promises made in his hearing. After the vote, Greens/EFA co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Dany Cohn-Bendit said:
“Today's vote is clearly not a consensual endorsement of Tonio Borg's credentials to be a European commissioner. There are serious reservations surrounding his appointment, as he failed to dispel concerns about his convictions on core moral issues related to his portfolio. The Greens/EFA group voted against Mr Borg but believe that he must now be proactive in promoting policies based on core EU values - such as respect for minorities and women's rights. The Commission College and the Parliament must monitor and guarantee this.
"Mr Borg must become a vigorous advocate of robust EU legislation on tobacco products. The controversy that has surrounded this file, which was accentuated by the resignation of John Dalli, has raised serious concerns about the undue influence of the tobacco lobby. Mr Borg must ensure this legislation is published as soon as possible and its priority is protecting public health, and not the profits of the tobacco industry. This means that he delivers on his promise to immediately send the file to interservice consultation. Tobacco is the largest single cause of avoidable death in Europe and strengthening EU rules on labelling, health warnings and additives should clearly be a priority in this context.
“We now hope Mr Borg will make good on some of the statements made his hearing on specific files – such as his commitment to the precautionary principle with regard to GMO authorisations, to a proposal by June 2013 for the prohibition of cloning for food and to full adherence to the marketing ban of cosmetic ingredients tested on animals."
(1) The vote was by secret ballot: 386 votes in favour, 281 against and 28 abstentions.