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Socialist leader explains group's decision

Hannes Swoboda, leader of the socialist group in parliament said today that "Commissioner-designate Tonio Borg left open questions ahead of the vote on his nomination.

Last night the S&D Group voted 62-24 not to support Dr Borg as Commissioner, making the outcome of the vote very uncertain.

Members of the Socialist Group will be free to vote according to their individual assessments of Dr Borg's performance and declarations. The vote will be taken between Noon and 12.15 p.m. and will be carried live on timesofmalta.com

Hannes Swoboda, who had backed Dr Borg, said:

"The S&D Group acknowledges Mr Borg's performance during his hearing and took note of his declaration that his personal views would not interfere with his duties as Commissioner, if appointed. But gender equality and the rights of women and homosexuals are still under fire from a part of Europe's right wing and the S&D Group wants to see the position filled by someone with a track record on respecting and furthering these rights."

Ahead of today's vote in the European Parliament plenary session, he continued:

"Should Mr Borg be confirmed by a majority of the European Parliament, we will co-operate with him in his area of competence. He will then have the duty and opportunity to convince the many citizens who have voiced doubts about his position and his commitment to fundamental rights."

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