Last Tuesday in Brussels, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) questioned Maltese Tonio Borg on his nomination to take up the Commission Health and Consumer Protection portfolio. As it became evident in the three hour public hearing, MEPs were interested in his views on non-discrimination, sexual reproductive health and rights, and fundamental rights.
The main concerns voiced by MEPs were the delays to tobacco legislation and assurances on his views on women’s rights and non-discrimination. If his nomination is approved next Wednesday at the European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg, the Commissioner-designate said he would propose legislation on tobacco products (referring to the principle of subsidiary and respect of the treaties to support a voluntary plain packaging scheme), cloning of animals for food, novel foods, product safety, plant and animal health, as well on access to bank accounts. Dr Borg said that he "would not abandon his personal views" but would respect the treaties.
“Does a health commissioner need to hold different values to a commissioner for another portfolio? Do the personal beliefs of an individual commissioner prevent him or her from doing their job? And perhaps most challenging for those who believe in the strength that Europe’s diversity gives us, what qualities and values do we expect and need from our leaders?,” wonders Monika Kosińska, EPHA’s Secretary general, in an article published today by The Public Service Europe: