After Tonio Borg’s hearing, the EHF reiterates its opposition to his nomination as EU Commissioner

15 November 2012

On 13 November 2012, Tonio Borg was heard by the members of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. Prior to this hearing, the European Humanist Federation together with other NGOs, had made clear it had serious concerns regarding Mr Borg’s nomination as the new Commissioner responsible for Health and Consumer Policy.

This hearing has not convinced us that Tonio Borg is a suitable candidate for the Health and Consumer portfolio.

While Tonio Borg showed that he was well prepared for the hearing and made a few commitments towards abiding by the EU Fundamental Rights’ Charter, he also made it clear that he would not set aside his personal views while deciding on health policies which will affect millions of Europeans.

His political track record in Malta has proved that his conservative views on several societal issues have very much influenced his political agenda. We therefore do not trust him to act in a completely different manner at the European level in spite of the principle of collegiality which governs the Commission’s work.

During the hearing, Tonio Borg also brandished the EU Charter and the principle of subsidiarity in order to avoid having to give his opinion on highly sensitive issues. Human rights are universal and are not a matter of subsidiarity.

European citizens deserve a Commissioner who is willing to truly defend the EU Charter, promote fundamental rights and fight to make Europe a fairer and more egalitarian place to live in. European citizens deserve a Commissioner who will set higher European standards, and not merely abide by the European treaties.

The EHF therefore respectfully urges MEPs  to vote against Tonio Borg’s nomination in the plenary next week.