S&Ds demand further commitments from Commissioner-designate Tonio Borg

Following yesterday’s hearing with Commissioner-designate Tonio Borg on issues relating to the health and consumer protection portfolio as well as his record in office and personal beliefs, the S&D Group has begun discussions on next week’s plenary vote on Mr Borg’s nomination.

Speaking after an initial Group debate on the issue, S&D president Hannes Swoboda stated:

„Above all, we regret that the Maltese government did not nominate a candidate with a less controversial track record and with more commitment to European values such as women’s and LGBT rights, which are particularly dear to the S&D Group.

„However, Mr Borg’s performance in the hearing did demonstrate factual knowledge and dedicated preparation which leads us to believe that he could manage the portfolio in an effective manner, if appointed.

„In the interests of swift progress on essential issues in the health and consumer protection portfolio, we are aware of the importance of appointing a dedicated Commissioner as soon as possible.“

Speaking on Mr Borg’s commitment to ensuring his personal views do not interfere with his actions as Commissioner, Hannes Swoboda added:

„Mr Borg publicly stated that his personal views would not interfere with his actions as Commissioner, if appointed, and that he would stand by the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. We just have his word for it at this point and many members are still concerned about whether he would actually follow this line once his appointment was confirmed.

„In the coming days it will be up to Mr Borg to further clarify and convince us that he will stand by those statements and keep the promises he made yesterday.

„The S&D Group will continue discussions in the coming week and vote on its position on Tuesday. If Mr Borg is confirmed, we will certainly hold him to account on his promises.“