European Union health commissioner, John Dalli says he was urged to resign by European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso over corruption allegations. Dalli was under scrutiny by the EU’s anti-fraud office, OLAF after accusations from tobacco manufacturer, Swedish Match.
It’s alleged an individual had claimed to the company that he could use his contacts with Dalli to influence future EU tobacco legislation.
In an interview with New Europe magazine Dalli said Barroso had told him to resign even though he knew an OLAF investigation had not found any evidence against the former health commissioner. Dalli also claims a powerful tobacco lobby group was behind the move to oust him.
He is being replaced temporarily by a Commission vice president, Maros Sefcovic.
Such high level resignations at the EU are virtually unprecedented but Dalli said he had decided to quit in order to be able to defend his reputation and to clear his name.