It was a day of contrasting fates. As Maltese foreign minister Tonio Borg became “likely to be approved as European Commissioner after a strong performance” at his November 13 hearing before a European Parliament committee, former EU Commissionner John Dalli, whom Borg is set to replace, was “interrogated at police headquarters”, writes the Times of Malta.
For the Valletta daily, the timing of the interrogation “could not have been more unfortunate” for the former Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, adding that “a confrontation was set up” with Silvio Zammit, the man who allegedly tried to bribe him to alter EU Commission proposals for a directive on tobacco. Over in Brussels, according to the daily, Borg, despite conservative stances on abortion and homosexuality which some consider as unsuitable for the post, appeared to win approval of the majority of MEPs in the European People’s Party and the Socialist groups, which would together constitute a comfortable majority when it comes to the vote in plenary next week.
The candidate, adds the daily, soothed MEPs by stressing —
… his European credentials, noting that he dedicated a sizeable proportion of his life to see Malta join the EU because he believed in and upheld European values. He pledged to fully cooperate with MEPs […] He denied that he had made distasteful comments on same-sex couples, and insisted that he endorsed the charter’s anti-discrimination provisions. […] Dr Borg’s position on abortion – which he personally opposes – is that it was strictly the competence of member states in line with the EU’s subsidiarity principle. […] But he repeatedly avoided giving clear answers on what his position would be on the funding of organisations whose services include the provision of abortion in developing countries.