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Swedish vicar-MEP dubs commissioner-designate Tonio Borg ‘dinosaur’

Liberal MEP tells committee colleagues not to accept Borg candidature: “He is a dinosaur that does not belong in our modern world.”

Matthew Vella
9 November 2012, 12:00am
MEP Cecilia Wikstrom called Tonio Borg a dinosaur who should not be allowed to become Commissioner.
A new barrage of criticism against Malta's commissioner-designate Tonio Borg has come from Liberal MEP Cecilia Wikström, a Swedish MEP and vicar of the country's Lutheran Church of Sweden, who has dubbed Malta's foreign minister "a dinosaur".

In a transcript of a video interview with Wikström on YouTube, the MEP and member of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee, was unequivocal in her description of Borg - who will be grilled by MEPs from three committees on Tuesday 15 November.

"As liberals we will have to vote against him and I hope other groups will follow, because this is a candidate that non-conservatives can never accept. He is not welcome here," Wikström said, warning that Borg faces a hard slog ahead of him. A member of the Alliance of Liberal Democrats of Europe political group in the civil liberties committee of the EP, Wikström said she had informed members of the environment and health committee (ENVI) to raise their concerns about Borg's political and social views.

Video follows [in Swedish language]




"The nomination of Mr Borg is a scandal. He is a dinosaur that does not belong in our modern world. As a minister for the interior in Malta he was behind the inhumane treatment of refugees from Eritrea," she said referring to the 2002 deportation of over 200 Eritrean asylum seekers to their country of origin.

The twice-divorced MEP also accused Borg of having been against the right to divorce in the recent referendum held in Malta. "I can only say one thing about that: I feel sorry for his wife."

Wikström was also critical of Borg's stance on abortion and the Gift Of Life campaign he unilaterally supported to include its criminal provisions in the Maltese constitution, a campaign that fell flat after Opposition leader Alfred Sant refused to support the GoL campaign.

"He is against women's rights in general and abortion and sexual and reproductive health issues. My guess is that Malta wants to get rid of him and therefore sends him to Brussels. I am ready to take up battle against him. He can have any views he wants of course, but we cannot have a Commissioner for health who is against women's right and rights of homosexuals," Wikström, who is also a member of the MEP intergroup for lesbian-gay-bi-transsexual rights.

Borg has already been taken to task by the LGBT intergroup for MEPs, a grouping of 139 MEPs from the entire political spectrum that wants Borg to answer for his "conservative and outdated" views on abortion, homosexuality and divorce.

Going by a dossier [Opens PDF] compiled by the LGBT intergroup for MEPs, whose members include Labour MEP and gay rights campaigner Michael Cashman and Liberal Democrats leader Graham Watson MEP, Tonio Borg is expected to be grilling on several of his stands and statements which, in the otherwise 'comfortable' setting of Maltese politics had only raised the eyebrows of the 'liberal elite' he once derided.

As he now prepares for a hearing on 13 November before the EP's committee on environment, public and food safety (ENVI) and other bilateral meetings with key MEPs, the LGBT intergroup is asking MEPs to question Borg on his socially conservative views before and during his grilling.

"Tonio Borg's views on abortion, homosexuality and divorce are staunchly conservative and outdated. While not necessarily on topics of EU competence, he views his strong opinions as 'issues of conscience', which would prevent him from being an impartial commissioner - especially with the public health portfolio," the LGBT intergroup's background note on Borg says.

Matthew Vella is editor of MaltaToday.com.mt.

After graduating in a...

Joe Borg
Sweden again - they clearly have no compunction about smearing Malta's reputation. On the other hand, I did not see Gonzi jump to defend Dalli ... in fact the most important question about this whole affair is 'WHAT ARE SWEDISH MATCH LINKS TO MALTA' ?. Do they have a company registered here. Who are the PN loyalist on their pay roll?
Steve Calascione
"He is a dinosaur that does not belong in our modern world". MEP Cecilia Wikstrom Always knew there was a Wikström, in the 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division.
Steve Calascione
"He is a dinosaur that does not belong in our modern world". MEP Cecilia Wikstrom Always knew there was a Wikström, in the 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division.
louis fenech
you are ready to take up battle against tonio and we maltese are ready to take up war against you and all liberals.
GRACE PAVIA
Would someone kindly make available a large wooden cross for Mr Vincenti,s use, so he may practice his brand of Christianity?
Kalanc Qasamula
Please understand that: Under a liberal rule everyone can live as he wishes including conservatives and Muslims. Under conservative or Muslim rule one is not free to live as he wishes. This is WHY CONSERVATIVES AND MUSLIMS are not fit for the EU commissioner's role.
Chris Cassar Torreggiani
Sweden claiming the moral high ground. What a joke. Let us hope that Tonio Borg sticks up for his beliefs. Better he be rejected for sticking to his religious beliefs then to subscribe to the moral depths of Swedish modern liberalism. Malta has a role to play in Europe if only to show that traditional values have a place in Europe and to make Europe a better place. God be with you Mr. Borg
Sam zammit
This is the very ugly face of extremism from the far left at work. This the new persecution for Christians. Christiano-phobia at its best. On is allowed to belive what they want but they are not allowed to act on their beliefs. This is political cleansing. Outrageous.
Carmel Grima
lil-Wikstrom nghidilha: ma sabitx ghadma iebsa bhal Dr. Louis Galea li kien ftiehem ma Dr.Joseph Muscat biex ikellem lis-Socjalisti MEP u jifthiemu biex ma jwahhluhx minn awditur, coe' Dr. Galea , u il-Popolari MEP ma jwahhlux lil Fule' tas-socjalisti u li kien fil-KGB, il-Pulizija Sigrieta. Hemm , fl-Ewropa ta' Kajjin, hekk jilhqu u jiehdu l-Posts importanti billi wiehed ihokk dahar l-iehor.Divorzjata darbtejn, vicar ta' religjon li ma tafx fejn sejra, u tghajjar personalment li Dr. Borg hu kattiv ma martu ghax tithassarha: fejn tahsbu li tinsab Wikstrom? F'halfway road.
kenneth azzopardi
Finally the leberals in europe are realizing that we are trying to get rid of the ultra conservative tonio borg and send him to europe, however i feel that he will not be accepted since his views on women rights will permeate his position and this is not acceptable in a modern society. Dinosours belong inna meuseum anf not in brussels to represent our country.
kenneth azzopardi
Finally the leberals in europe are realizing that we are trying to get rid of the ultra conservative tonio borg and send him to europe, however i feel that he will not be accepted since his views on women rights will permeate his position and this is not acceptable in a modern society. Dinosours belong inna meuseum anf not in brussels to represent our country.
Francis Saliba
I am against divorce but after reading Cecilia Wikstrom illiberal opinion on the criteria for acceptance of Malta's nominee for the post of EU Commissioner for HEALTH etc I must admit feeling some empathy for her erstwhile husbands, whom I congratulate for their deliverance.
sinan capudan pascia
Totally agree that he is a dinosaur. He is lucky that conservatives and popular group enjoy majority in the European Parliament, but I have a hunch he might still not survive the grilling. He is completely out dated, even his mannerisms are those of a prelate. And Matthew, can you please tell us what is the point of saying "the twice-divorced MEP", who cares, whether she is divorced or not. In the eyes of a conservative readership, does being divorced trace the picture of someone who is socially unstable or non-conformist. I think that was a Freudian slip.
daniel li
Totally agree with Mrs Wiksrtom, Tonio Borg is not fit to be a commissioner.
Alex Torpiano
This is the ultimate hypocrisy of so-called democrats! You can have freedom of opinion - as a liberals claim the right to have - as long as the opinion is not different from theirs! You can be a person of principle, as long as they are their principles. You have freedom of speech, as long as you say what they like to hear! You should not bring your faith into your life, except if your faith is Lutheran! And, instead of rising in a chorus of protest at this blatant hypocrisy, I am amazed at the reaction of my compatriots, who find pleasure at this hypocrisy. How dare she be sorry for his wife! What arrogance and how patronizing, as if only Sweden is the beacon of hope for the future of the earth. Unbelievable that Tonio Borg cannot be Commissioner, and a shallow person like this one can be an MEP.
brian farrugia
Shame on this beautiful woman, Tonio is one of the bright stars of Maltese politics, the crem de la crem of Maltese nationalism.
Polly Bonello
Nammetti li dan l-aspett ta l-EU fl-imghoddi kont myopic fuqu: kont zbaljat qabel! Min kien jobsor li d-divorzju dahal imhabba li dhalna fl-EU, l- l-gays se ikollhom dritt jizzewgu, u li l-vivi-Prim Ministru Malta Tonio Borg jibda jissejjah dinosawr tal-politika moderna? Issa naf kemm ghdu lura l-Partit Nazzjonalista fejn jigu is-civil rights u drittijiet ohra li l-Ewropej johduhom for granted u f'Malta qisek qed tghid xi daghwa! Jien naqbel l ank l-abort jidhol f'Malta bhal ma hemm f'kull pajjiz civilizzat fl-Ewropa. Grazzzi EU talli ghamiltni modern, sekulari u evolut aktar mid-dinosawri Nazzjonalisti!
m borg
As regards abortion there is a general concensus at present against it in Malta but when Tonio was presented and he accapted the role of commissioner he knew that the other 26 Euro States have abortion. How is he going to reconcile his conscience with any legislation concerned with abortion that would effect those 26 states? He would have the Health portafolio after all and abortion is a big thing in the EU. This swedish MEP is out of order on some things but does have a point on others.
louis fenech
l-ebda malti m'ghandu jaqbel ma rapport bhal dan. nistenna bhala malti li il gvern u l-oppozozjoni johorgu stqarrija flimkien biex jirribattu rapporti bhal dawn. nistenna ukoll li il membri parlamentari maltin fl-ewropa jifthu halqhom biex lil din is sinjura svediza ituwa risposta kif jixraq.
Paul Schembri
MR. PRIM MINISTER YOU BETTER PREPARE FOR ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL.SHAME ON YOU DISGUSTING /OROGANT MR. GONZI MOST PROBABLY AFTER MR. BORG REFUSAL FOR THE POST OF COMMISIONER YOU ONCE AGAIN PONT YOUR FINGERS AGAINST JOSEPH MUSCAT. CALL ELECTION AT YOUR EARLIEST THE SOONER THE BETER LONG LIVE THE DICTATOR
fufa
Jien ma naqbilx ma li qalet is-sinjura Wikstrom, pero kullhadd kien jaf se jigri, kemm il-darba insiru membri shah tal-EU. Ma nistghux inkunu choosy issa. Issa too late. Niftakar lill ET Mons Arcisqof Mercieca jghid qabel dhalana fl-EU, li Malta ghandha hafna x'toffri lil Ewropa ghal dak li ghandu x'jaqsam mat -taghlim nisrani, ghalhekk kien jaqblilna li nidhlu fl-EU. Jekk l-arcisqof emeritus jghidli, li xi darba ra cawla tibla balena, imbaghad nemmnu li kien jaqblilna nidhlu fl-EU. Tghidx kemm qed nghallmuhom lill-ewropej!
John Inguanez
Ms. Wikström, I always thought that your country is a champion for free speech, religion and such things. Why now are you pointing fingers towards Mr Borg? Or is freedom of expression and freedom of conscience is only fit for liberals?
Mark anon
These comments echo the letter I recieved today from my English Lib Dem MEP in response to my appeal for them to oppose this nomination. Although I cannot disclose the contents of the email for confidentialty reasons, my MEP also shares my concerns about Tonio Borg's views on divorce, abortion and LGBT rights. I was assured that my concerns would be addressed by members of the Health and Environment Comittee in the upcoming hearing; so I'm quite looking forward to that now. The question remains, why did the PL abandon its values and endorse his nomination? The Maltese Government-in-waiting needs to demonstrate that they really will be different from the PN dinosaurs. Supporting Borg when it was neither required, nor ethically desirable, makes me question my lifelong support for the LP, and any trust I had in their manifesto of change is swiftly fading.
fred sammut
THIS MEP is 100% right !!!
Nigel Lawrence
It would appear that our T.B. does not have many friends (not including Barosso) in the E.U.
Vincent Cassar
Good luck DINOREX BORG...DINO as in Democratic In Name Only!
bejn il-linji
So democratic it is only her views that count.. If Tonio Borg is dinosaur than this lady is a dictator and more...
eddy privitera
In my personal view, Dr. Borg doesn't deserve to be commissioner once he was ready to lie on a parliamentary colleague, Dr. Justyne Caruana, in Malta's highest institution !
bejn il-linji
So democratic it is only her views that count.. If Tonio Borg is dinosaur than this lady is a dictator and more...
GRACE PAVIA
Isn't that comforting now? Malta's reputation downtrodden by a thousand tongues.