A German member of the European Parliament has said that Tonio Borg, Malta's foreign minister, should not be allowed to join the college of European commissioners.
"Commission president [José Manuel] Barroso should not have accepted Tonio Borg as candidate for the job of health commissioner,"said Holger Krahmer, a German Liberal MEP. "Either Malta withdraws Borg as candidate or Barroso must reject him, even before [Borg's] hearing in the European Parliament next week," he said.
Borg's hearing before two Parliament committees - for the environment, public health and food safety, and for internal market and consumer protection - is scheduled for Tuesday (13 November).
Borg has come under criticism for his socially conservative views, on women's rights, homosexuality and abortion. He now also faces questions over a Kazakh citizen who was granted residency in Malta at a time when Kazakhstan was seeking his extradition.
He was put forward by Malta's centre-right government to replace John Dalli, who resigned last month over allegations of influence-peddling.
"A court should decide over the allegations against Borg," Krahmer - the spokesman on the environment for the German Liberal MEPs - said. "I do, however, think it is remarkable that the president of the Commission should make such a proposal to the European Parliament."
The European Parliament is consulted on commissioners' nominations but does not have the power to reject candidates.