Wednesday 6 March 2013

The Problem With Maltese EU Commissioners

When England play football against San Marino, what generally happens? Well, they get thrashed of course. In fact, they get thrashed by just about everyone because they're pants. Even Scotland can put a couple past them!

It's not their fault. It's just that their population is so small that there is very little talent to choose from. Pitting 31,000 San Marinoans - or whatever they're called - against 53 million Englanders is only going to end in one result.

It's why, in football, San Marino are not given equal privileges with more successful (normally more populated) nations. They are not thrown into competition draws on an equal footing with Germany and Spain because that would be monumentally stupid; would make football a laughing stock; and would result in the game being devalued as a result.

The situation with the EU is entirely different, though. You see, there are 27 member nations and they are all treated equally, which means that the least populous member - Malta with fewer than 500,000 citizens - is afforded the same importance as Germany (with 81 million) when it comes to allocating EU Commissioners.

Worse than that, though, Malta isn't handed something inconsequential which can't harm one billion EU citizens - like pronouncing on treatment of stray ducks, for example - no, they are currently placed in charge of the continent's health!

So I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised when the perfect storm of ridiculous EU massaging of a tiny nation's collective ego, and the tiny pool of talent Malta is able to supply, results in the appointment of quite incredibly inept Health Commisioners.

We've recently witnessed the forced resignation of the disastrous John Dalli over accusations of bribery. Dalli is a man who came to the EU with an already whiffy reputation, and whose behaviour since being told to get out by Barroso has been something of an embarrassment.

This is the joke who the EU entrusted to draft the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) which now threatens to effectively ban e-cigs and continue a ban on snus, a product which has helped Sweden boast by far the healthiest figures on smoking prevalence and lung cancer of all EU member states. All based on a distinctly dodgy public consultation exercise which ignored sane voices in favour of lucrative pharmaceutical interests.

Since the EU recognises tiny Malta as an equal partner, Dalli's replacement was a fellow Malteser, Tonio Borg.

As Gluggles reports from last week's TPD hearing, he is incredibly incompetent.
Borg started out by saying that there was a need to take action because new tobacco products "looked like lipstick"! 
Borg went on to (wrongly) say that the EU had a ban on Snus 20 years before Sweden joined (it was 3 years) - the false statements continued as Borg (wrongly) told the meeting that there was "no evidence" that Snus reduces smoking. He was keen to stress that he did not want to "interfere with peoples choice" and proceeded to announce plans to remove the choice to use Menthol, Snus or electronic cigarettes. 
It came, as Borg used the seatbelt argument (these laws are for your own good) as he started talking more windy nonsense - he showed that he was appallingly ignorant of the basic facts, and also a liar, as he proclaimed that electronic cigarettes "give people a false sense of security" and "do harm just the same". These evidence free statements were followed (yet again) by him saying "we are not a nanny state".
Now, you'd think, wouldn't you, that if an organisation which claims to be thoughtful - as the EU does - wishes to be taken seriously, they would be distancing themselves from idiots like this.

But the EU is obviously not as clever as even the stodgy primaeval bureaucrats at UEFA and FIFA. They are happy to see the second best that Malta's naturally poor talent pool can offer given free reign.

So, we have the bizarre outcome that a directive drafted in dubious circumstances by a Maltese politician who has dubious/incompetent connections; has been forced to resign; is currently being investigated for fraud; and whose methods are arguably questionable ... is now being hurried along by his compatriot successor who either lies to public hearings or is astoundingly unaware of basic information.
"I think the health and lives of our citizens are our primary consideration. There are economic considerations, but they are secondary.” 
During the hearing Borg was even more forthright. Pointing out that the directive had already taken 11 years, he urged immediate action, saying, “This is not regulating for the sake of it. The main aim is saving lives.”
Says the man who seeks to ban e-cigs which have helped millions of former smokers to quit tobacco, and is pushing a directive which ignores impressive health statistics in Sweden.

It's quite clear that the EU's policy of affording equal status to politicians of differing nations - irrespective of competence - is quite absurd.

The upshot is that we now have a Europe of a billion people being dictated to on health by a shamed Commissioner who is regularly embroiled in corruption scandals, and succeeded by a deputy who is about as scintillating on the world stage as San Marino's second choice goalkeeper.


nisakiman said...

This whole imbroglio comes as no surprise to me, and I'm pretty sure it comes as no surprise to you either, DP. The EU only talks to itself; it's not interested in what the European people think, or want. It exists purely to ensure its own continued existence. Until we find a latter day Guy Fawkes, that is the way it will continue. Time to start stocking up on gunpowder, methinks.

trashbunny said...

Judging by Gluggle's report, might we expect a follow-up post entitled 'The problem with Irish Health Ministers'?

ScienceFiles said...

A lying Commissioner is fitting, with all the others,... We do already have a Vice-President to the EU who continuously tries to deceive the public. So what about another figure that is telling something that does not fit data? Anyway, we live in times of constructivism so stop this "honesty"-nonsense, we are post-honesty.

The Vice-President, Viviane Reding that is, originates also from a rather tiny EU-country, but is rather sophisticated when it comes to "bending" or "constructing" reality: