Helena Dalli to appear before MEPs on 2 October

Malta’s commissioner-designate has been nominated for the equality portfolio

Former equality minister Helena Dalli
Former equality minister Helena Dalli

Helena Dalli’s grilling in the European Parliament will be held on 2 October in the afternoon after MEPs agreed on a timetable for the confirmation hearings.

The Maltese commissioner-designate was nominated for the equality portfolio by European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen.

All commissioner-designates will face questions by MEPs as part of the confirmation process. Von der Leyen’s commission will have to be approved by the European Parliament before taking office on 1 November.

Dalli will appear before MEPs who form part of the parliamentary committees dealing with women’s rights and gender equality, and employment and social affairs. Dalli may also face MEPs from the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee, which is an associate of the two other committees.

This is the first time that the equality portfolio has its own commissioner, having been hived off from the justice portfolio by von der Leyen.

Dalli’s competence in the subject is beyond reproach, having been at the forefront of the Labour government’s drive to legislate for equality and civil liberties since 2013.

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However, the former minister may face some uncomfortable questions related to abortion, the rule of law in Malta and the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The confirmation hearings will start on 30 September and end on 8 October.

Prior to the hearings, commissioner-designates will have to answer a written questionnaire prepared by MEPs, which would provide the basis for the face-to-face grilling.

Dalli is so far being considered a ‘safe’ candidate within the corridors of Brussels. She has no scandals to her name, unlike several other commissioner-designates who are facing investigations in their home country or at European level.

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