Labour supports Frendo or Galea as successor
Louis Galea and Michael Frendo are the most acceptable to the Labour Party among those being mentioned as possible successors of John Dalli as European Commissioner, sources said yesterday.
When contacted, a spokesman for the Labour Party refused to name a favourite.
“We have not been consulted but we understand that this is the prerogative of the Prime Minister and he is in no way obliged to consult us. What we hope is that the Prime Minister keeps in mind the fact that this legislature is drawing to an end and there needs to be continuity, whatever happens,” the spokesman said.
However, sources close to the PL laid emphasis on Dr Frendo, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Dr Galea, a former Speaker and now member of the European Court of Auditors, as being the favourite candidates from among those being named.
This was because they have both proven they could “rise above partisan politics”.
Malta’s first European Commissioner Joe Borg, who is also being mentioned, would also be a non-controversial option.
“Obviously, we are being realistic. We are not expecting the Prime Minister to nominate a Labourite,” the sources said.
“We just hope the person chosen is someone who can ensure continuity if there is a change in government. It should not be someone who will refuse to work with the Labour Government.”
The sources added that Dr Galea and Dr Frendo had both proven themselves in the past, earning respect from both sides of the political spectrum. Dr Borg would be a close third favourite because of his experience.
The other main contender for the role is Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tonio Borg.
The sources did not discount his candidature and said the PL would not object to him being appointed commissioner.
However, there were fears that his candidature could spell fresh controversy for Malta within the EU at a time when the island needs to clean up its image.
“The problem with Tonio Borg is that the more liberal elements in Brussels will give him a very tough time because of his conservative stands on social issues, such as gay rights. We think it is better to avoid this, especially at this stage,” the sources said.
Meanwhile, sources said that the Government’s preferred candidates were Dr Galea and Tonio Borg, although the Prime Minister has been careful not to give any indications or hints of who he would prefer.
Lawrence Gonzi has only promised that he would name a new commissioner quickly to close this chapter.