European Affairs and Equality Minister Helena Dalli has been nominated for the post of European Commissioner. If accepted, she is set replace Karmenu Vella as Malta’s representative. She will be replaced as minister by Edward Zammit Lewis, a former Tourism Minister.
A Department of Information statement said that during the past days, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had conversations with the President elect of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, regarding Malta’s nomination for member of the European Commission.
The profiles of two suitable and highly qualified individuals were discussed within the context of competences, the stated need for gender balance within the Commission and potential portfolios. The Malta Independent had reported that, apart from Dalli, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna was to be nominated as well.
At the end of this process, the Prime Minister decided to nominate Dalli as member of the European Commission. Dalli will be the first female Commissioner nominated by Malta since the country’s accession to the European Union.
Dalli will immediately resign from her ministerial post to focus on preparing for the hearing with the European Parliament. She will stay on as a Member of Parliament until her eventual confirmation.
I have decided to nominate @helenadalli as @EU_Commission member after discussing profiles of 2 highly qualified individuals with President elect @vonderleyen, within context of competence and gender balance. Helena will be the first female Commissioner nominee from #Malta 1/3
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) July 24, 2019
The Prime Minister, the DOI said, has decided to appoint Edward Zammit Lewis as the new Minister for European Affairs and Equality. Zammit Lewis, who already held cabinet posts throughout the whole of the past legislature and is the outgoing Chairman of the Foreign and European Affairs Committee, will be sworn in tomorrow.
The government thanked outgoing European Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, for the impeccable job he carried out over the past five years. The Prime Minister said he looks forward to Vella’s renewed involvement with government-related activities once his term as Commissioner expires.
In a statement, the Labour Party said there is no doubt that Dalli was nominated due to her experience in public life. She has served in all roles given to her in an excellent way and has led important reforms, especially those related to equality, the party said.
The PL in government is once again showing faith in women. After it had nominated the country’s two women Presidents and the first female speaker, the PL has now nominated the country’s first ever female EU commissioner.
The PL also congratulated Edward Zammit Lewis and thanked outgoing EU commissioner Karmenu Vella.