Concerns over Borg grow ahead of hearing
Malta’s nominee to the Commission seeks to allay concerns over past positions on abortion and gay rights.
MEPs and civil society organisations held a press conference today (12 November) urging the European Parliament to reject Malta’s nominee to become the EU’s new health commissioner, Tonio Borg. The Parliament’s health and environment committee will hold a hearing with Borg tomorrow.
The campaign groups, which include the Centre for Reproductive Rights, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, Planned Parenthood and Catholics for Choice, have written to MEPs urging them to reject the nomination. “Borg’s record and public statements over his years in the public eye in Malta suggest that his positions are inconsistent with those of the majority of Europeans,” they said in their letter.
They were joined at the press conference by Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie In’t Veld and German Green MEP Franziska Brantner. “We will judge Mr Borg on the basis of the answers he will give at the hearing, but also on the basis of his track record,” said In’t Veld.
Among the issues of concern is that Borg supported an incorrect transposition of the EU Free Movement Directive by the Maltese government in 2009 which explicitly excluded same-sex couples. During the debate, he said that only relationships that were “in Malta’s national interest” should be recognised. Malta later had to change its law to include same-sex couples after the Commission opened infringement proceedings. The comments have been distributed to MEPs by the Parliament’s gay rights group.