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MEPs Should Reject Buttiglione

October 25, 2004

Rocco Buttiglione admits inability to carry out responsibilities of
proposed appointment as Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice.

FRANCE—Rocco Buttiglione, the controversial Italian nominee for Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice at the European Parliament, issued a public “mea culpa” last week in which he promised “to be exonerated from the execution of a particular act and to be substituted in it” in the event that a conflict arose between his personal views and his duties as a commissioner.

Dr. Buttiglione’s public admission that he will not be able to fulfill his responsibilities and obligations to the people and nations of the European Union should make it clear that his candidacy for Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice is inappropriate. Dr. Buttiglione has confirmed that as a commissioner, he will need to recuse himself repeatedly on critical matters pertaining to discrimination and human rights. This will apply to matters related to the rights of women, gays and lesbians, single parents and immigrants, as well as issues pertaining to employment protection, contraception and reproductive freedom and HIV/AIDS.

It is customary in political appointments for candidates to acknowledge the potential for periodic recusals in conflict-of-interest cases; however, when there is certainty that there will be consistent recusals on issues that are fundamental to a position’s scope, the candidacy should be withdrawn.

Europeans deserve commissioners that are fair, just and capable of administering the law in a manner that advances the public good. The European Parliament does not need a part-time commissioner whose official duties would be compromised by his personal inability to meet standards of fairness and non-discrimination.

Some, including Dr. Buttiglione, have claimed that opposition to his candidacy is fueled by anti-Catholicism. Nothing could be further from the truth. There should never be a religious test for public office. Dr. Buttiglione is disqualified from serving in this post by his positions, which are discriminatory and offensive. His positions are not dictated by Catholic teaching; rather they are contrary to the core of Catholic values and public opinion, which embraces respect for all and a commitment to equality and justice, characteristics that are found in the many Catholics who serve in European governments and in the EU.

Members of the European Parliament should reject Dr. Buttiglione’s appointment.

Catholics for a Free Choice has developed a fact sheet on Dr. Buttiglione as part of its “Conservative Catholic Influence in Europe” series.

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