Europe

EU court rules against Maltese ex-commissioner Dalli

Maltese ex-Commissioner John Dalli Image copyright AFP
Image caption John Dalli was replaced in 2012 by fellow Maltese politician Tonio Borg

The EU's top court has dismissed a case brought by Maltese ex-Commissioner John Dalli against the European Commission in which he sought compensation.

Mr Dalli left his job as EU health commissioner in 2012, accused of improper links to tobacco lobbyists.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that he resigned voluntarily. He had argued that ex-Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso had asked him to resign.

Mr Barroso said Mr Dalli had put the Commission's integrity at risk.

Tobacco furore

A statement from the court said that, when Mr Barroso met Mr Dalli on 16 October 2012, Mr Barroso "decided... that Mr Dalli should leave the Commission".

Despite Mr Barroso's decision, he did not utter a "clearly formulated" request for his resignation, according to the Luxembourg judges.

"Since the existence of that request... has not been established, the Court dismisses the action as inadmissible. The court also rejects Mr Dalli's claim for compensation," the ECJ statement said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Snus is consumed orally by placing under the lip but the EU allows its sale only in Sweden

EU anti-fraud agency Olaf had earlier delivered a report asserting that Mr Dalli had held unauthorised secret meetings with tobacco industry representatives.

According to Olaf, a Maltese entrepreneur had sought a "considerable" payment from a Swedish producer of oral tobacco, called snus, after which Mr Dalli would lift an EU ban on the product.

Sweden has an exemption from the ban, but it cannot export snus to other EU countries.

Mr Dalli denied any knowledge of such an approach by the entrepreneur.

If the ECJ had supported his allegation of unfair dismissal he could have been entitled to compensation for loss of earnings.

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