Malta’s Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi has nominated John Dalli, the country’s social policy minister, to be the country’s next member of the European Commission.
The appointment was widely predicted after Dalli, 61, met European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in Brussels last week.
Gonzi reportedly had two other candidates on his shortlist: Joe Borg, the current commissioner for fisheries and maritime affairs, and Richard Cachia Caruana, Malta’s permanent representative to the EU.
Dalli, who trained as an accountant, spent 1977-79 in Brussels working for Blue Bell Malta Limited, a textiles company. He was elected to the Maltese parliament in 1987 for the centre-right Nationalist Party (PN) and served as junior ministry for industry, economic services minister and finance minister.
In February 2004, Dalli was unsuccessful in a bid for the leadership of the PN after Eddie Fenech Adami stepped down, losing the race to Lawrence Gonzi. Dalli was named minister of foreign affairs and investment promotion in Gonzi’s first cabinet but he resigned from the government three months later, following investigations into the award of a contract for medical equipment and airline ticketing. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing. He made his return to the cabinet in 2008 as social policy minister.
The nomination of Dalli means that only the Netherlands has yet to nominate a European commissioner.