Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

John Dalli will focus on GMO in his work as a Commissioner

euinside, January 16, 2010

A little earlier than usual ended the hearing of the successor of the first EU Commissioner for consumer protection Meglena Kuneva - the Maltese politician with long experience in politics John Dalli. Aside from the consumer policy he will be responsible for the not less hard field of health as well. Most of the MEPs in the parliamentary Committee for environment, healthcare and food safety expressed satisfaction with the nomination of John Dalli and many of his statements were often applauded. A main focus in the questions toward the candidate was related to the use of GMO in food products as well as the use of cloned animals.

John Dalli explained that products and forage with GMO origin should be properly labeled. However, the problem is how this can happen because many producers complain that the process of labeling makes their products more expensive and quite often the labels are hard to read. The president of the Commission Jose Manuel Barroso has also defined GMO as a priority in his agenda for his second term. John Dalli said later at the briefing with journalists in Brussels that the problem with GMO was very complex because "this is not only about what we put on our table. There are issues regarding international relations, food security in the future and given this complexity, the decisions should not be one-sided or taken quickly".

The Bulgarian MEP from the group of the liberals Antonia Parvanova asked the Maltese candidate how did he intend to deal with medicine counterfeit, especially with regard to the online medication trade. Mr. Dalli responded that control in the Internet should be the same as it was in the pharmaceutical stores and the pharmacies. But he added that this would be hard to do because of fears of censorship in the Internet. A large part of counterfeit medicines and pharmaceutical products came from online shops, he underlined. "Everyone can make a website today and do whatever he wants with it", the candidate noted.

It would also be very hard to inform consumers because not a small part of them do not use the Internet or do not know English which is the language of the web. But if all European institutions engage their efforts and the pharmaceutical companies also get involved in the internal market and in service of consumers, this might lead to success. John Dalli was sent away after the hearing again with applause because in his final remarks he underlined that the key word for his and the success of the consumers was "together".