EP committee rejects Buttiglione

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Commission President Barroso has been hit by the
first real political crisis with the Parliament civil
liberties committee’s narrow rejection of Italian
Commissioner designate Rocco Buttiglione.

By 27 votes to 26, the civil
 liberties committee of the
European Parliament

 has rejected the nomination of Rocco
Buttiglione, Italian Commissioner designate
for Justice and Home Affairs.

In the vote on 11 October, which took place
behind closed doors, only the members of the
conservative EEP and the extreme right supported
Buttiglione, who created controversy with his
statements on homosexuality [“a sin”],
women’s place in society and refugees during
last week’s EP hearings.  

The committee vote is non-binding, but it will
nevertheless set Commission President Barrosso
thinking hard before making his next
move. He will meet with the presidents of the
political groups in the EP on 21 October. His
spokeswoman on 11 October commented: “It is
only the vote of a parliamentarian
committee”. However, adding to the weight of
the case, the EP President Borrell last week
also expressed his outrage over the
Buttiglione statements.  

Legally speaking, the EP can only reject
the Barroso Commission as a whole or none of
it.  

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who
appointed Buttiglione, reacted angrily to the
news saying that 
it called into “question the
freedom of conscience and opinion of a Catholic
commissioner, contesting the distinction he makes
between morality and the
law”.   

 

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