Tuesday

25th Sep 2018

Investigation

EU smoke & mirrors

  • Dalli (l) says he was forced to resign in the big tobacco affair (Photo: EUobserver)

When European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso gave his farewell speech to MEPs after 10 years in office he said his proudest moment was when he picked up the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2012 on behalf of the EU.

But just two months earlier he had faced what was arguably his biggest embarrassment: 'Dalligate'.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The term refers to the tobacco lobbying scandal surrounding Barroso's former health commissioner, John Dalli.

Barroso, in a fateful meeting with Dalli on 16 October, told him there was "circumstantial" evidence that he had solicited a bribe and that the Maltese politician was "politically untenable".

By his own admission, later in an EU court, Barroso feared the issue could become a new 'Santer affair' - when, in 1999, a corruption fiasco forced the whole commission to resign.

Did Dalli jump out of his post? Was he pushed?

Did he try to shake down tobacco firms in return for unlocking a new EU market worth half a billion euros a year?

Or did big tobacco, and its friends inside the EU, orchestrate Dalli's downfall to sabotage his "tough" anti-tobacco law?

The events involve: EU officials-turned-tobacco-lobbyists; newly-leaked emails and EU files; a $100 million charity in the Bahamas; and ongoing Maltese and EU court cases which could end in millions of euros of damages or years in jail.

In a series of eight articles, EUobserver reporter Nikolaj Nielsen takes a closer look at events which, in the words of one MEP, will haunt Brussels for the next 10 years to come.

Part I: From Peppi’s to Barroso’s

Part I of VIII: EUobserver takes a closer look at the Barroso commission's biggest scandal - tobacco lobbying and John Dalli - in events some say will haunt the EU "for the next 10 years".

Part III: Actors assemble for EU melodrama

The new EU health commissioner’s first known contact with a tobacco lobbyist was on 20 August 2010 at the five-star Kempinski Hotel on the Maltese island of Gozo.

EU court dismisses Dalli case

A former EU health commissioner, accused of soliciting bribes from a tobacco firm, lost his case against the European Commission for unlawful dismissal.

Scant evidence EU tobacco deal curbed smuggling

A ‘landmark’ agreement with tobacco company PMI was supposed to bring down cigarette smuggling. But it is very difficult to estimate the success of the deal, which is up for renewal in 2016.

Part VII: €60mn Valentine's Day gift

While Silvio Zammit risks jail time and former EU health commission John Dalli is still under investigation, the witness to the prosecution, Gayle Kimberley, has largely escaped scrutiny.

News in Brief

  1. UN chief: World suffering from 'trust deficit disorder'
  2. Stalemate in Sweden as parliament ousts prime minister
  3. Migrant rescue ship heading to French port
  4. EU angry at British tabloids on Brexit
  5. UK to allow EU flights in no-deal Brexit
  6. Greek reporters arrested after story on 'mishandled' EU funds
  7. Austrian minister urges police to out foreign sex offenders
  8. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group

EU smoke & mirrors

EUobserver reporter Nikolaj Nielsen sheds new light on the Dalli lobbying scandal, which, by Barroso's own admission, threatened to bring down the EU executive, but which is not over yet.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. EU court delivers transparency blow on MEP expenses
  2. Russian with Malta passport in money-laundering probe
  3. Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?
  4. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  5. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  6. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  7. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  8. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us