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EU parliament backs new health commissioner

The European Parliament has dealt with the resignation of former EU health commissioner John Dalli over corruption allegations by voting for another Maltese, Tonio Borg, to fill the vacancy.

European Parliamentarians voted on Wednesday to approve Borg's nomination as the next health commissioner in the EU. Borg's nomination received 386 votes for and 281 against, with 21 abstentions.

Borg (photo above) is currently foreign minister of Malta. Dalli, who also hails from Malta, resigned last month after allegations from the EU anti-fraud office that linked the commissioner to attempts to influence EU tobacco legislation.

However, Borg's nomination is not itself free of controversy. His conservative views of abortion and homosexuality have led some parliamentarians to question Borg's suitability for the post. Last week, during a hearing for Borg's nomination, he promised to put the treaties of the EU above his personal views.

Allegations that connect Borg with a corruption scandal in his native Malta have also raised eyebrows in Brussels.

Borg's nomination must still be confirmed by the European council of the 27 EU states, which is expected in the coming days.

mz/ (AP, dpa)