The European parliament approved yesterday the appointment of Mr Tonio Borg, a catholic conservative and Malta’s former foreign minister, as the European Union’s new health commissioner, by 386 votes in favour, 281 against. Mr Borg’s nomination still has to be finalised by the Council, but this should be mere formality and the European Commission said that Borg could begin work immediately.
Tonio Borg is replacing fellow countryman John Dalli, who resigned last month after being cited in a tobacco-linked influence-peddling probe.
Animal advocacy groups have welcomed Borg’s confirmation as new EU health commissioner. Last week, Mr Borg announced its commitment to conclude the introduction of the March 2013 ban on animal testing for cosmetics.
“Once Dr. Borg has also been confirmed by the EU Council, his appointment will mark a significant change in direction regarding implementation of the 2013 marketing ban on cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals,” said the Humane Society International in a release.
“Dr. Borg has made his views absolutely clear, and it is now likely that the 2013 marketing ban on animal-tested cosmetics will stand,” explained Emily McIvor, the Humane Society International’s Senior EU Policy Advisor.
Both the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) also expressed a warm welcome to Mr Borg’s endorsement.
Testing finished cosmetic products on animals has been prohibited in the European Union (EU) since 2004, as with animal testing of ingredients since 2009. In addition to these, after March 2009 there has been a marketing ban on selling cosmetic products within the EU containing ingredients that have been tested on animals after this date, irrespective of the place of testing. However, some very complex tests  remain exempted from these various prohibitions until a general marketing ban comes into force in March 2013.