In the News 2012

MEPs, European NGOs to call for rejection of Tonio Borg


A coalition of Catholics, LGBT activists and other NGOs will be holding a press conference in Brussels later today, calling for the rejection of Tonio Borg’s nomination as EU Commissioner.

The civil society organisations are calling on the European Parliament to reject his nomination and on EU Commission President Barosso to withdraw the nomination of Borg, who was nominated by the Maltese government to fill in the seat on the European Commission vacated after John Dalli’s resignation.

On Tuesday 13 November, the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety will be grilling Borg, Malta’s nominee for the post of the EU Health Commissioner.

“Our organisations are seriously concerned with Tonio Borg’s ultra conservative views on a number of social issues related to EU competencies,” the statement read.

The NGOs added that they believe that Borg’s long term, dedicated, consistent actions, statements, campaigns and voting records conveyed as ‘issues of conscience’ aimed at introducing and implementing policies and practices reflecting his views, are not compatible with the fundamental principles and values of the European Union and would prevent him from being an impartial Commissioner.

“This is especially the case for the public health portfolio. Tonio Borg’s appointment would be a serious risk to the principles of fundamental rights and a strong signal of departure by the European Commission from those principles,” the NGOs said.

Jacqueline Nolley Echegaray from Catholics for Choice said: “For Catholics, the conscience holds pride of place among our beliefs. Catholics believe that all individuals, both religious and non-religious, must follow the conscience as their moral guide, while respecting others’ right to do the same.

“That is why it is so troubling to see a Catholic policymaker such as Tonio Borg who evidently does not believe that others also have the right to follow their conscience, especially in matters of reproductive choice and sexuality.”

On his part, the President of the European Humanist Federation, Pierre Galand said:
”Mr. Borg’s candidacy for the Health and Consumer Policy portfolio of the European commission is a threat to the quality of health services enjoyed by European citizens. His nomination would be a disgrace for the European Union. The EHF is strongly convinced that other candidates, who better reflect European values, could be appointed by Malta.”

MEPs Sophie In’t Veld (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) and Franziska Brantner (Greens/EFA) will be joining the coalition of eight civil society organisations which include Catholics for Choice, Confederation of Family Organisations in the EU, European Humanist Federation, European Network against Racism, European AIDS Treatment Group, European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, International Planned Parenthood Federation – European Network, and Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants in the press conference, which will be held at the European Parliament.

This article was originally published by Malta Today.

Catholics for Choice