The Government of Malta has nominated John Dalli as the next Maltese representative in the soon to be appointed European Commission.
While the official announcement confirms the speculation which has been doing the rounds for the past month or so, it also opens a new can of worms – who will fill his place in Cabinet.
It was the same Cabinet that decided on Mr Dalli’s nomination in a meeting held yesterday. The rowdy PN backbench seems to have been quieter than it has been over the past couple of weeks and the possibility of filling Mr Dalli’s post (or a wider reshuffle) will have done much to appease the dissenters.
In a statement released yesterday, it was announced that Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi had called European Commission President JoseManoel Barroso and had informed him of the decision to nominate Mr Dalli on behalf of the Government of Malta.
Speaking to this newspaper late last night, Mr Dalli thanked the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the PN parliamentary group for the support and the confidence they expressed in him.
He said he realises the commitment it will take to fulfil the role of a Commissioner and said he would do the utmost to succeed and do Malta proud. He also said that the various Ministerial posts he has occupied will help him through the vast experience they have helped him accumulate.
Speaking about the outgoing Commissioner, Joe Borg, Mr Dalli had nothing but praise: “He has really pulled off a good job in the Fisheries sector, which is not an easy one. He oversaw wholesale reform and made sure it was done in a controlled manner.”
John Dalli was first returned to parliament in 1987 and was appointed junior minister for industry. He was appointed Economy Minister in 1990 and from there continued up the ladder to hold posts of Finance Minister and Foreign Minister. He then contested the PN leadership but lost out to current Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. Later he resigned after fingers were pointed at him alleging corruption. Mr Dalli remained active on the back bench and openly, but objectively criticised the government in where he believed it was going wrong. This, followed up by a court ruling in which a ‘report’ which was drawn up against Mr Dalli was ruled as being conjecture, cleared him of any wrongdoing, perhaps strengthened him further. He was given the post of Social Policy Minister, a post the Prime Minister held under the last Fenech Adami administration.
Mr Dalli seemed very keen in his brief conversation with The Malta Independent. One is sure that his nomination is a good one overall. Mr Dalli is certainly capable. It gives the Prime Minister some elbow room and it will also ensure that Christmas will not go by without some of our national sport – Politics.