Swedish Liberal MEP Cecilia Wikström (Photo: Ray Attard/Mediatoday)
Video by Ray Attard
Report by Joanna Demarco
Cecilia Wikström, the Liberal Swedish MEP who had dubbed Tonio Borg "a dinosaur that does not belong in our modern world" when the former foreign minister was nominated for the post of EU Commissioner, has reiterated her stand that Borg's personal political standpoints did not make himfit for the post of health and consumers affairs policy Commissioner.
"In the middle of an economical, social and political crisis in Europe, what we need to have are very strong political leaders, who have a vision for the future, where to go, and how to create a solution that is sustainable," Wikström told MaltaToday in a short interview while on a 24-hour visit to Malta for an asylum law conference.
"Tonio Borg's track record showed that he is not a political leader which Europe needs... he does not give us hope for the future," the MEP, a vicar of the Church of Sweden, said.
"Borg is a very well known politician with a high education [who] would have been a fantastic leader of Europe a couple of decades ago," Wikström said, pointing out that his conservative beliefs might put him at loggerheads with several aspects of his portfolio.
"Had Borg's portfolio been on something else, like fisheries, culture, higher education or even the internal market, he would have been a wonderful commissioner.
"Since Borg's portfolio deals with rights and the choices people make, I think this is going to be complicated for him," Wikström said, mentioning as an example, sexual and reproductive health rights that would include the provision of safe and legal abortion for women.
Asked whether Borg's commitment to respect the EU Treaties was good a guarantee enough for the commissioner not to allow his personal beliefs to interfere with his work, Wikström said this was not necessarily sufficient.
"I'm not here to judge... [but] it is not sufficient to say that 'I will stick to the Treaties'. We need somebody to take one step further and to be pro-active.
"Every politician is here to serve the people, whatever the circumstances in life are, and never to rule them - to give legal proposals and then to legislate in accordance to people's needs".
As an example, Wikström pointed out how several MPs and ministers still voted against the divorce law that was approved in the 2011 referendum. "This is something that I could not even think about [comprehend]."
Wikström, a rapporteur on a revised regulation for the Dublin convention - the asylum law convention - was in Malta for an asylum conference. "A good solution for refugees seeking asylum in Europe is that it is treated as a European issue and not a national one."
"The Dublin regulation is the 'cornerstone' of the Common European Asylum System... we need to see increased solidarity, and help each other in times of difficulties."