Helena Dalli secures two-thirds support for her nomination as equality commissioner

MEPs green-light Malta’s first female commissioner

Helena Dalli will be the first European Equality Commissioner
Helena Dalli will be the first European Equality Commissioner

After a three-hour grilling at the hands of MEPs, Helena Dalli has secured the two-thirds of votes necessary to confirm her nomination as equality commissioner.

A source close to the Socialists and Democrats in Brussels told MaltaToday that the Maltese commissioner-designate managed to secure the support of the five major groupings in the post-hearing meeting of party coordinators.

Apart from the S&D, her own political family, Dalli got the green light from the European People’s Party, Renew Europe (the liberals), the Greens and the communists.

"The EPP raised some questions but eventually voted in favour of Helena Dalli’s nomination," the source said.

The information was confirmed by a second source close to the EPP, who said Dalli was confirmed "comfortably", however her letter will include "a long list of issues that have not been sufficiently covered".

This is not expected to influence the overall positive assessment.

Dalli did not secure the support of the conservative and far-right groupings - the ECR, and Identity and Democracy.

Dalli had a good showing earlier in Brussels as she fielded questions from MEPs from three different committees.

READ ALSO: Helena Dalli performs well at the hands of MEPs

She was asked about Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder investigation and the Panama Papers but the bulk of the questions centred around the EU’s equality agenda.

From the gender pay gap, to the rights of the disabled, to anti-discrimination measures and abortion, Dalli was asked to lay down her priorities for the next five years.

In a reaction, soon after the grilling was over, EPP women’s rights spokesperson Frances Fitzgerald said the creation of an equality commissioner was welcome but she would have liked to hear more detail on some of Dalli’s initiatives.

The S&D hailed Dalli as the European Commission’s “equality champion”.

Dalli is Malta’s first woman to be nominated as European Commissioner. She will succeed Karmenu Vella.

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