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Europe

New Commissioner Struggles with Criticism

Rocco Buttiglione faced a barrage of questions today from parliamentarians in his bid to become Commissioner for Interior Affairs.

Rocco Buttiglione faced a barrage of questions today from parliamentarians in his bid to become Commissioner for Interior Affairs. Appearing before MEPs, the former Italian minister faced tough questions on his moral convictions, allegiances, the record of his government and his time as an MEP. Sometimes ill-tempered, much of the discourse was low on policy substance, focusing on orientation and the commission's designate vice president's outlook. Facing criticism over his stated views on homosexuality and marriage, Buttiglione’s responses - given in English, French, German and Italian - appeared to do little to assuage his critics. He said that homosexuality might be morally wrong, but this has no effects on politics, unless he says homosexuality is a crime. This brought allegations he had refused to sign legislation in Italy on the basis of his moral convictions. However, he also came under fire for his support for US domestic affairs policies since Sept. 11, 2001. In spite of his links with the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, Buttiglione sought to distance himself from the Bush administration’s policies. "We are not twins" he said, adding that the EU could not support policies such as the detention of suspects at Guantanamo Bay. (EUobserver.com)

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