[WATCH] Helena Dalli’s EU portfolio will reflect her experience, Joseph Muscat says

Edward Zammit Lewis is sworn in as minister • Prime Minister rules out further changes to Cabinet

Helena Dalli was nominated Malta's next European Commissioner by the Prime Minister
Helena Dalli was nominated Malta's next European Commissioner by the Prime Minister
Helena Dalli's EU portfolio will reflect her experience

Helena Dalli’s role in the European Commission will reflect her experience, the Prime Minister said without lifting the lid on his discussions with Brussels chief Ursula von der Leyen.

Joseph Muscat said that he discussed different portfolios with European Commission president-in-waiting Ursula von der Leyen within the context of the two people he proposed.

Muscat said he divulged his preferences to von Der Leyen regarding Dalli’s prospective role but could not make such preferences public at this stage.

Dalli was nominated as Malta's next European Commissioner to replace incumbent Karmenu Vella. She will be Malta’s first female nominee for the role.

She will take her place in the European Commission in October but before she will have to undergo scrutiny at the hands of MEPs.

“It’s a very difficult balancing act for von Der Leyen as she has 26 other roles to cover, 25 if you don’t count the Spanish Commissioner who will be responsible for foreign affairs,” Muscat said, adding that he was certain that she would make the right choice.

The Prime Minister said Dalli was not selected because she was a woman but because of her competence.

Edward Zammit Lewis was sworn in as minister on Thursday, making a return back to Cabinet
Edward Zammit Lewis was sworn in as minister on Thursday, making a return back to Cabinet

He was speaking after the swearing-in ceremony at the Palace in Valletta, which saw Edward Zammit Lewis take over Dalli’s ministerial portfolio of European affairs and equality.

Dalli resigned immediately from Cabinet to focus on the upcoming grilling process that is expected sometime in September.

Zammit Lewis took his oath of office in front of President George Vella. He was accompanied by members of his family, parliamentary secretary for EU funds Aaron Farrugia and Dalli herself.

Muscat ruled out any further changes to Cabinet at this stage. “If there were any on the cards, I would have hastened to implement them,” he said. 

Muscat said the fact that a man was taking over the ministry of equality, was a message in itself, that men too should take up arms for parity.

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