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John Dalli

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 Maroš Šefčovič (Acting)
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta
In office
23 March 2004 – 3 July 2004
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi
Preceded by Joe Borg
Succeeded by Michael Frendo
Personal details
Born (1948-10-05) 5 October 1948
Political party Nationalist Party
Spouse(s) Josette Callus
Children Claire
Website Official website

John Dalli (born 5 October 1948) is a Maltese politician who served as Cabinet Minister in various Maltese governments between 1987 and 2010. He was European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy between 2010 and 2012.


  • Maltese politics 1
  • European Commissioner 2
  • Back in Malta 3
  • Supervisory Committee Opinion 3/2012 4
  • Kessler refuses to give evidence 5
  • Secret Documents from Philip Morris 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Maltese politics

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)[1] and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Investment Promotion (2004).[2] 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.[3]

He is credited with the creation of the financial services centre[4]

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 three months from April to July 2004 following allegations of corruption in the awarding of contracts for medical equipment and airline ticketing.[5]

All allegations against him were proven false, by the auditor general and by the police.

Dalli remained a backbench MP and was outspoken about what was going on within the party.[6] In 2007 the Prime Minister appointed Dalli as a personal consultant.[7]

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.[8]

In this ministry, Dalli started a reform of the health sector which was interrupted when he resigned as minister and as Member of Parliament on 10 February 2010 on his appointment as European Commissioner.[9]

European Commissioner

Dalli was appointed to the European Commission on 9 February 2010 as Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy. On 16 October 2012, he was forced to resign by Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, after an associate was accused of asking for 60 million euros from Swedish Match, the main producer of Swedish snus, in return for Dalli's help in changing European tobacco regulations. Dalli has subsequently denied any knowledge of the alleged bribery.[10]

The OLAF report claimed that the decision making process of the commission services were not jeopardised, that no money changed hands and that Dalli was not involved in the execution of this action. However they put forward the conclusion that he knew what was going on. This was stated in the statement issued by the Commission to announce Dalli’s dismissal.[11]

Dalli had insisted from the outset that the report by OLAF should be published, but the commission always refused. Finally this report was leaked by Malta Today on 28 April 2012. Upon its publication, there was a chorus of criticism of this report, which was described by some as amateurish and biased.[12][13][14][15][16][17]

On 24 December 2012, Dalli instituted a case in the European Court of Justice against the Commission to annul the decision by Barroso to force his resignation (Case T-562/12). On the 7 and 8 July 2014, The ECJ held a public session to hear witnesses in the case. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission was called as a witness in the proceedings. A decision on whether or nor Dalli was forced to resign is expected in the coming months.

Dalli also instituted a case in the Belgian Criminal Court against Swedish Match for defamation on 13 December 2012.[18] In December 2014 Dalli extended the case to include OLAF as he insists that OLAF abused its powers in the investigation. This case seems to be stalled as the police officer on the case has been changed by the Belgian Authorities.

Back in Malta

Peter Paul Zammit, the police commissioner appointed on 13 April 2013, reinvestigated the case and Dalli was called again to be interviewed on 21 May 2013. On 8 June 2013, Zammit stated that there was no evidence to arraign Dalli, but that the investigations were continuing.[19][20][21] This position was reiterated by Zammit on 27 September 2013.[22]

Supervisory Committee Opinion 3/2012

On 4 July 2014, the Supervisory Committee set up to supervise the actions of OLAF during its investigations published its report on the case involving Dalli. They sent the report to Corporate Europe Observatory in answer to a request that the latter NGO had made months before. CEO immediately published the report on its website.[23] This report was sent to the Director General OLAF in December 2012. However OLAF had been refusing to publish this report. After harsh insistence, the European Parliament was only given a censored copy of the report. Even after its publication, the Director General OLAF refused to publish the document on OLAF's website as is usual practice.

The report can be read on http://corporateeurope.orgs/default/files/2012-02-opinion-supervisory_committee.pdf It can be seen that it is highly critical of the way that OLAF conducted this investigation and of the way that Kessler conducted himself.

In the ECJ hearing referred to above, Dalli's lawyers claimed that this opinion shows that Dalli's human rights were breached by OLAF and asked for the document to be included in the proceedings. The Court accepted this request over the protests of the lawyers of the Commission.

Kessler refuses to give evidence

In the case that the Maltese Local authorities instituted against Mr. Silvio Zammit, the prosecution has called Kessler on different occasions to give evidence. Kessler has not presented himself to give witness.

The same applies to employees of Swedish Match and ESTOC who are refusing calls by the Maltese courts to give evidence in the case.

Secret Documents from Philip Morris

On 7 October 2014, France2, a French public television station, aired a two-hour report entitled "Tobacco Industry" the grand Manipulation.[24] In this report the journalists uncovered documents they acquired from Philip Morris showing that the tobacco lobby had planned a strategy to target Dalli, the European commissioner who was steadfast in his drive to have a harsh tobacco products directive.[25]


  1. ^ "Malta Today". Malta Today. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  2. ^ "Department of Information". Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  3. ^ "The Malta Business Times". 2003-01-15. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  4. ^ "Malta’s model financial centre". Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  5. ^ "MaltaToday". MaltaToday. 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  6. ^ "Kliemhom jikxifhom - Malta u l-politika". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  7. ^ "MaltaToday". MaltaToday. 2007-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ Dunmore, Charlie; Baker, Luke (24 October 2013). "Exclusive: EU Graft Inquiry Shifts to Ex-health Chief's Overseas Activity". Reuters. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "EUROPA - Press statement on behalf of the European Commission". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  12. ^ "New report 'casts further doubt' on Dalli inquiry". 2013-04-23. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  13. ^ "Dalligate: OLAF report on Dalli available | Press Release | EPP Group in the European Parliament". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  14. ^ "REVEALED • Dalligate - the OLAF report". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  15. ^ Helmut Weixler (2013-04-29). "Dalligate - OLAF report published - Content - The Greens | European Free Alliance". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  16. ^ Keating, Dave (2013-04-29). "Dalli report leaked". European Voice. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  17. ^ "New evidence appears to vindicate John Dalli delaying tactics claim - The Malta Independent". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  18. ^ "John Dalli files defamation complaint against Swedish Match". 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  19. ^ "Malta Police Commissioner: no case against John Dalli". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  20. ^ "Police drop probe into Malta’s ex-EU commissioner | euronews, Europe". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  21. ^ "Malta rules out legal action against former EU Commissioner". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  22. ^ "Updated: Police Commissioner reiterates position on John Dalli investigation". Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^

External links

  • John Dalli Official media gallery
Political offices
Preceded by
Joe Borg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Michael Frendo
Maltese European Commissioner
Succeeded by
Tonio Borg
Preceded by
Androulla Vassiliou
as European Commissioner for Health
European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy
Succeeded by
Maroš Šefčovič
Preceded by
Meglena Kuneva
as European Commissioner for Consumer Protection
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