Borg secures EP backing as Commissioner after week of tension
Tonio Borg, Malta's candidate to replace resigning Commissioner John Dalli, was supported by MEPs on Wednesday with 386 votes in favour, 281 against and 28 abstentions.
Mr Borg's approval should now be finalised by the Council in the coming days. He will then be able to take up his post as Commissioner for health and consumer affairs.
Mr Borg underwent a three hour public hearing with MEPs from the Environment, Internal Market and Agriculture committees last week. At their request, he then provided written assurances of his commitment to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, tobacco legislation, and the rights of women and LGBT people.
Ahead of the vote, the ALDE, Greens and GUE groups declared that they could not support Mr Borg.
Note on procedure
EU Treaty Article 246(2) says Parliament must be consulted before nominating a replacement Commissioner:
"A vacancy caused by resignation, compulsory retirement or death shall be filled for the remainder of the Member’s term of office by a new Member of the same nationality appointed by the Council, by common accord with the President of the Commission, after consulting the European Parliament (...)"
Parliament's rules of procedure provide for a secret vote in such circumstances: "(...) when the vote in plenary concerns the appointment of a single Commissioner, the vote shall be by secret ballot."