Commission : Borg's Hearing at Ep Won't Be a Dull One

Article excerpt

The members of the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) will have three hours, on 13 November, to put all their questions to Commissioner-designate Tonio Borg. He has been put forward by the Maltese prime minister to succeed John Dalli. Borg will therefore be heard by Parliament before taking over as health and consumer policy commissioner.

He will have to discuss where he stands on family. In a communication, published on 25 October, the Socialist group warned that "in view of some of Mr Borg's comments on homosexuals' rights, we intend to question him closely on whether his views are compatible with Europe's fundamental values of civil liberties and non-discrimination".

Borg is as Conservative as they come and his ideas on homosexuality, divorce and abortion are not likely to sit well with the more Liberal MEPs.

Yet, according to the rules, a commissioner-designate's political views are not what should be examined - only his or her probity and competence. Annex XVII of the EP's regulation says that "Parliament shall evaluate commissioners-designate on the basis of their general competence, European commitment and personal independence. It shall assess knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills".

Gay rights NGOs, backed by the EP's gay rights intergroup, are, however, putting pressure on ENVI MEPs to raise the issue of homosexuality during the hearing. …