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MEPs, European NGOs to call for rejection of Tonio Borg

Eight European NGOs, including Catholics for Choice say Tonio Borg’s appointment would be a serious risk to the principles of fundamental rights.

Jurgen Balzan
12 November 2012, 12:00am
Malta's EU Commissioner-designate Tonio Borg.
Malta's EU Commissioner-designate 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.

Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...
kenneth azzopardi
Dr Tonio Borg will always vote according to his conscious with a total disregard of the opinion of others irrespective of their creed or thoughts. He will take the european back to the times of the inqusition where laws are dictated by one person who is only concerned with his conscious.
Christian Thorn
Another Dinosaur on the extinction list! So much for GonziPN's CHOICE , a taste of GonziPN's Malta in 2012!
louis fenech
dr borg se jghati risposta u jghalaq halq dawn il ftit membri parlamentari li l-iskop taghhom huwa biss li ma tghaddix il ligi li ipprepara j dalli. sur editur haga tal-iskantament kif qed jigu ippublikati BISS rapporti kontra dr borg u dawk favur XEJN. JEKK JOGHOGBOK IRRISEPTTA L-OPINJONI PUBBLIKA.
@Pawlu: Everyone has a right to their 'conscience', and expressing their beliefs. However, noone has any right to use their beliefs or conscience to deny others their rights. For example, everyone has a right to be homophobic, racist or chauvinistic, indeed even MPs have a right to such bigoted views. Noone is affected by anyone's presonal beliefs or their 'conscience'. However, we do expect people to treat others fairly- the principle of equality. The problem arises when people say they will behave according to their conscience, when their own belief system is discriminatory and prejudiced. People who do so put their own belief system above the public's expectation of fairness. Mr Borg has often claimed that he will follow his conscience when making decisions, rather than the principle of equality and reasoned judgement. 'Conscience' is an acceptable excuse for bigoted beliefs, but never an acceptable excuse for bigoted behaviour.
Paul Schembri
Nahseb li qed thawad mhux ftit ghax siehbek Laurence Gonzi kien jaf li Tonio Borg ghandu il Problemi sabiex jiehu il kariga ovjament lghab lghoba kif qal ta qablek halli inholoq post vacant ghal Deputy Leader. Jien nahsebilli kif jidher gejja froga kbira ta GONZI PN
peppi x
Shouldn't the Government and his advisers have anticipated the difficulties that Dr Borg would be facing in the EU and have nominated someone else who would have been more acceptable as an EU Commissioner? Or was the creating a vacancy in the PN leadership more important in the political strategy in view of the upcoming elections?
John Inguanez
Everyone brings forth the conscience. That's right. But how about the conscience of Dr Borg? Does he has a right to his own conscience according to his belief? Or this is a one way traffic - do what I want or else you won't get through?????