Extracts from the hearing of Tonio Borg, Member designate of the EC in charge for Health and Consumer Policy, before the EP
Type: Institutional activity
End production: 13/11/2012 First transmission: 13/11/2012
A three hour hearing of Tonio Borg, Member designate of the EC in charge for Health and Consumer Policy, took place on 13 November 2012 by the European Parliament’s Committee on Public Health and Food Safety in cooperation with the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.
Tonio Borg has been officially nominated as the Maltese Member of the European Commission following the resignation of John Dalli. In the following week’s plenary sitting the Parliament will vote on the appointment of the Commissioner by secret ballot.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the EP building, Brussels
||SOUNDBITE by Peter Liese, Member of the EP (EPP, DE), (in GERMAN) saying that many think that the tobacco directive is dead, but the majority of the MEP would like him to come forward with a proposal on that as soon as possible; saying that his question is: do you have some timetable on this? Could you give some details? Have you got some key points in your mind in relation to this? Are you going to do your utmost so there are no further delays?
||SOUNDBITE by Tonio Borg, Member designate of the EC in charge for Health and Consumer Policy, (in ENGLISH) saying that the tobacco directive is not dead, indeed it is alive and kicking.
||SOUNDBITE by Tonio Borg (in ENGLISH) saying that if he is confirmed as Commissioner, his first action will be to send the tobacco directive to the inter-services consultation, and also to get an adoption of the proposal in January 2013; saying that he is not inventing these dates, he checked the facts, he checked the timetables and, in this respect, he was encouraged and endorsed by President Barroso himself.
||SOUNDBITE by Tonio Borg (in ENGLISH) saying that he believes that tobacco products should look like tobacco products and they should taste like tobacco products.
||SOUNDBITE by Linda McAvan, Member of the EP (S&D, UK), (in ENGLISH) saying that he has spoken a lot about defending European values and in particular the Charter of Fundamental Rights; saying that she wants him to answer her on how we can square that with many of the reports the EP's been receiving about his political activities in Malta, particularly in relation firstly to women's rights and abortion; not only did he seek to tighten up the law in Malta, by outlawing abortion in the Constitution, but so to restrict the free movement of women who might go abroad, pregnant women, in case they would go abroad to seek abortion. (5 shots)
||SOUNDBITE by Tonio Borg (in ENGLISH) saying that, on the question of abortion, this is something which the Treaty is very clear about, that this is completely in the hands of Member States whether to allow it or not; so, as European Commissioner, he will abide by the Treaties, he will abide also by the Fundamental Charter of Fundamental Rights, and he shall abide by the subsidiarity principle, which does not allow in any way the Commission to interfere with these rights themselves. (3 shots)
||SOUNDBITE by Chris Davies, Member of the EP (ALDE, UK), (in ENGLISH) saying that Malta may be a socially conservative country but even by its standards, Tonio Borg's views seem to be on the extreme side; he is on record as making distasteful, some would say homophobic, remarks against same sex couples; he opposed Malta's divorce law and tried to weaken it; saying that he personally doesn't agree on his views on abortion and sperm and egg donation; saying that he is entitled to his views of course, but this hearing is the nearest we have in the EU to an 'election campaign' and inevitably the views of candidates come under particular scrutiny; asking why he should vote for him, why he should not reject you and invite the Maltese Prime Minister to submit the name of a candidate whose views more closely reflect those of himself? (5 shots)
||SOUNDBITE by Tonio Borg (in ENGLISH) saying that he has never been against relationships outside marriage being regulated; he himself co-sponsored and helped in the drafting and voted in favour to have these extra-marital relationships, heterosexual or same sex, regulated, which means that it will give rights to legal rights and obligations. (3 shots)
||SOUNDBITE by Tonio Borg (in ENGLISH) saying that he never made disparaging remarks, including one which has been circulating that 'we should have to put up with gays'; saying that he never said that, and one can check with the official transcripts as to which criticism he made. (2 shots)
||SOUNDBITE by Satu Hassi, Member of the EP (Greens-EFA, FI), (in ENGLISH) saying that she would like to hear his views on these issues: fighting the HIV-AIDS epidemic and the health of European citizens as a whole. (4 shots)
||SOUNDBITE by Tonio Borg (in ENGLISH) saying that as regards HIV and other diseases as well, thank God that today it's no longer a death sentence as it used to be; they should be proud of the achievements which have been made in the fight against HIV; in this matter they should concentrate on prevention, on diagnosis and also on cure, and in particular to abolish the stigma of those persons who are suffering from what we can call a tragedy of modern time. (5 shots)
||SOUNDBITE by Sophie Auconie, Member of the EP (EPP, FR), (in FRENCH) saying that being rapporteur for the labelling of bovine meat, and as he said he would push forward a new legislation on cloning in 2013, she would like to know where he stands on cloning of animals for food; this is a very important matter for the EP. (3 shots)
||SOUNDBITE by Tonio Borg (in ENGLISH) saying that today there is nothing in European law to prevent animal cloning for food; he does not think that this is right; he thinks animal cloning for food should be prohibited in the EU; but right now we don't have a law; why don't we have a law?; we know what happened when there was the last attempt; we need to move on now with a new attempt, so that animal cloning will be finally prohibited. (5 shots)
||Cutaways (5 shots)