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02-Mr John Dalli

 1948 –

EU COMMISSIONER FOR MALTA (2010 – 2012)

 EU Commissioner for Health John Dalli
European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy

In office
9 February 2010 – 16 October 2012

President: José Manuel Barroso

Preceded by
Androulla Vassiliou (Health)
Meglena Kuneva (Consumer Protection)
 

Succeeded by
Vice President Maros Sefcovic
and later Dr Tonio Borg


Personal details

Born: 5 October 1948
Political party: Nationalist Party
Spouse: Josette Callus
Children: Claire, Louisa
Profession: Accountant

 

 Personal

Born on the 5th October 1948, the first of five children to Carmel and Emma Dalli.

Married on the 21st September 1975 to Josette nee Callus. They have two children, Claire and Louisa.

School and Qualification


John Dalli went through the public education system in Malta. He completed his secondary education at the Lyceum and passed on to studying for his accountancy degree at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST). His training at MCAST was sponsored by the Malta Drydocks where he was engaged as a commercial apprentice.

As at the time the MCAST did not cater for the final years of the qualification for which John Dalli was studying, he finished his last two years of study through a correspondence course with a specialised UK institute, and managed to pass all his examinations and qualify as a Certified Chartered Accountant.

John Dalli is a Fellow of the Certified Chartered Accountants of the UK and a member of the National Association of Accountants of the USA. He is also a member of the British Institute of Management.

Work Experience


John Dalli started his work experience at the Malta Drydocks where he joined as a commercial apprentice, working in the administration departments of the company and studying on a part time basis for his accountancy qualification.

After two years at the Malta Drydocks, John Dalli joined an advertising agency as their accountant. In December 1969, after one year with the advertising agency, he was selected to work as a junior accountant with Blue Bell Malta Limited, then the largest textile factory in Malta which was owned by an American company.

At the age of 24 he was appointed Financial Controller of this company which at the time accounted for 25% of the exports of Malta. In 1977 he was asked to move to the company’s head office in Brussels where he organised an international trading company and then was appointed as the manager of an international team to develop a computer management information system to control the total process of the company’s 25 subsidiaries in Europe.

In 1979 he returned to Malta with the company and in 1981 resigned from the company to contest the elections in Malta. After the elections, he set up a consulting company.

Maltese politics

John Dalli started to be involved in politics in Malta in 1971 when he joined the Nationalist Party youth movement. He helped to organise the movement at the grassroots and served in its executive committee until he left for Brussels in 1977. During this time he represented the Movement in the National Executive Committee of the Party.

When he returned to Malta in 1979 he was asked to head the Nationalist Party’s propaganda office in preparation for the election of 1981. John Dalli prepared the Party’s plan for economic revival of Malta and organised the marketing aspects of the election campaign. In the elections of 1981 he contested for the first time but was not successful.

John Dalli got more involved in politics, abandoning his consultancy and dedicating himself to organising the party. He organised the printing and publishing sector of the party and the financial structures of the party. He also introduced computers to the Maltese Political Scene. He developed programmes that would create databases on the voters in Malta, to facilitate access to these voters and to control the electoral process against abuse.

Dalli was first elected to the House of Representatives of Malta in 1987 on behalf of the Nationalist Party and since then he has been re-elected in five successive elections: in 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003 and 2008. He has served as Parliamentary Secretary for Industry (1987–1990), Minister of Economic Affairs (1990–92), Minister of Finance (1992–1996, 1998–2004) and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Investment Promotion (2004). During his tenure at the Ministry of Finance (the longest in Maltese political history), Dalli is best remembered for his modernisation of the taxation system through the introduction of VAT in 1994 and again in 1998.

From 1987 to 1996 and from 1996 to 2004 Dalli served as co-chairman of the Libyan-Maltese Joint Commission, during which time he led the renegotiation of all political and economic agreements between Malta and Libya to bring them in line with the EU acquis.

In February 2004 Dalli contested the election for the leadership of the Nationalist Party but lost to Lawrence Gonzi who was appointed Prime Minister. In the new Cabinet Dalli was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and Investment Promotion. However, he resigned after serving for only three months from April to July 2004, citing attacks by members of his own party, following allegations into awards of contracts for medical equipment and airline ticketing. All allegations against him were proven false, by the auditor general and by the police. The person who appeared as the author of the allegations was sentenced for two years in prison. Dalli remained a backbench MP. In 2007 the Prime Minister, after admitting that accusations against Dalli had been disproved, appointed Dalli as a personal consultant.

Dalli was re-elected to the House of Representatives in the March 2008 general election and returned to the Cabinet as Minister for Social Policy. His portfolio included health, the elderly, employment and training, housing and industrial relations. Joe Cassar and Mario Galea were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries for Health and for the Elderly and Community Care respectively to assist him.

He resigned as Minister and as Member of Parliament on 10 February 2010 on his appointment as European Commissioner.

European Commissioner

Dalli was appointed European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy in the second mandate of the Barroso Commission where he was given the Health and Consumer Policy portfolio.

As with his tenure as Maltese Minister, he has been subject to a number of controversies. Some of the most notable included authorisations regarding the genetically modified Amflora, the publication of a diary for schools which included holidays of various religions except for Christian holidays and, during the 2011 Libyan civil war, when he made pro-Gaddafi remarks. These remarks were attributed to the various business interests and links Dalli had in Libya and put him out-of-step with President Barroso. He had to issue an apology.

Private sector

Qualified as an accountant, Dalli worked in the private sector in Malta and abroad, both in industry and as an independent consultant. His consultancy business was dormant during his tenure in the Maltese Cabinet and was reactivated in 2004 (when Dalli a backbencher) with an office in Tripoli and specialising in consultancy in Libya. At this time Dalli was also a director of glass manufacturing company in Libya. In 2008, on resuming politics, he quit the directorships and handed over the consultancy to his daughter

 Resignation

 John Dalli  resigned from the European Commission on Tuesday 16 October 2012.

The European Commission said that Mr Dalli resigned following an investigation by the EU’s anti-fraud office into a complaint made in May by the tobacco producer Swedish Match. It alleged that a Maltese entrepreneur (Silvio Zammit) had used his contacts with Mr Dalli to gain advantage from the company, in return for seeking to influence a possible future legislative proposal on tobacco products.

The EU’S Statement in full

The European Commission in its statement said:

“Commissioner John Dalli has today announced his resignation as a member of the Commission, with immediate effect.

“Mr Dalli informed the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso of his decision following an investigation by OLAF, the EU’s antifraud office, into a complaint made in May 2012 by the tobacco producer, Swedish Match. The company alleged that a Maltese entrepreneur had used his contacts with Mr Dalli to try to gain financial advantages from the company in return for seeking to influence a possible future legislative proposal on tobacco products, in particular on the EU export ban on snus. As soon as the Commission received the complaint it immediately requested OLAF to investigate.

“The OLAF final report was sent to the Commission on 15 October 2012. It found that the Maltese entrepreneur had approached the company using his contacts with Mr Dalli and sought to gain financial advantages in exchange for influence over a possible future legislative proposal on snus. No transaction was concluded between the company and the entrepreneur and no payment was made. The OLAF report did not find any conclusive evidence of the direct participation of Mr Dalli but did consider that he was aware of these events.

“The OLAF report showed clearly that the European Commission’s decision making process and the position of the services concerned has not been affected at all by the matters under investigation.

“The final OLAF report and its recommendations are being sent by OLAF to the Attorney General of Malta. It will now be for the Maltese judiciary to decide how to follow up.

“After the President informed Mr Dalli about the report received from OLAF, Mr Dalli decided to resign in order to be able to defend his reputation and that of the Commission. Mr Dalli categorically rejects these findings.

Mr Dalli’s Reaction

John Dalli categorically denied allegations against him made in a report by the EU’s fraud office and said he was talking with his lawyers in order to clear his name.

Speaking on TVM after his resignation from the Commission was announced, Mr Dalli said he wanted to strongly deny any knowledge that a person in Malta had told a Swedish company that he had contacts which could influence EU legislation on tobacco.

On the contrary, Mr Dalli said, he would continue to work in order to ensure that his work on a new Tobacco Directive imposing tougher restrictions on smoking would come to fruition.

However he felt he should resign because he took such matters very seriously. He also indicated that he knew who the Maltese person involved in this case was.

In his comments Mr Dalli denied that decisions taken by him or his staff had been influenced in any way. He said he had not yet received a copy of the OLAF report – where the claims were made – but he noted that OLAF had admitted that it did not find any conclusive evidence of direct participation by him in any wrongdoing or that decision-making by his office was influenced.

The Office had based itself only on circumstantial evidence, he said.

He was therefore speaking to his lawyers in order to launch proceedings to show that the claims were totally false.

He said that this was not the first time that false allegations had been made against him, only to be disproved.

“This is a case of deja’ vu for me. I learnt from that experience and I will be tougher this time around,” he said, adding that there would be developments next week.
 

 

 

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