The European Parliament’s Public Liberties Committee is divided over its evaluation of Italy’s designated European Commissioner Rocco Buttiglione.
It comes after the proposed head of justice, liberties and security told the committee at a hearing on Tuesday that he believed homosexuality was a sin. “I may think that homosexuality is a sin and this has no effect on politics unless I say that homosexuality is a crime,” he said. The comment outraged liberals and left-wingers, but conservatives have defended him. The committee cannot agree its opinion of Buttiglione, which must be sent to Josep Borrell, the parliament president, by Monday. Borrell has made his own contribution to the debate, using a radio interview to say Buttiglione’s old-fashioned views on gays and women made him unsuitable. The parliament cannot block individual commissioners. It can only reject the entire executive. But some MEPs want incoming commission chief Jose Manuel Durao Barroso to agree to seek the resignation of any commissioner that loses the parliament’s confidence. Barroso has avoided such a commitment so far.