07 April 2004

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Former minister jumps from political wilderness to EU top job

By Kurt Sansone

Up to a few days ago Josef Bonnici’s career was sinking into oblivion after he refused Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi’s offer to take up the post of parliamentary secretary in the finance ministry.
But like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, Prof. Bonnici will probably soon find himself working full time with the European Court of Auditors, a post he will retain for six years.
Josef Bonnici’s appointment was approved by Cabinet on Monday and has been interpreted as a gesture of goodwill by Gonzi to smooth over the animosity created after Bonnici’s repudiation of a parliamentary secretary’s job in the ministry of finance.
Contacted yesterday in Brussels, Bonnici refused to comment on the cabinet appointment episode, saying it was a closed chapter. “I am honoured that Government has appointed me as Malta’s permanent representative at the European Court of Auditors. It is a post that carries a lot of responsibility,” Bonnici told The Malta Financial and Business Times yesterday.
The former economic services minister submitted his questionnaire to the Court of Auditors Monday and was given an interview appointment for 19 April. Bonnici’s nomination, along with those of the nominees from the other nine accession countries will be screened and await final approval from the European Parliament and the Council.
Directives regulating the European court of Auditors stipulate that people appointed to the institution will have to take up the job on a full time basis and that the post carries a six year term that is renewable.
The chosen persons must be qualified and independent and in the performance of their duties may neither seek nor take instructions from any government or body. They must also refrain from any action that is incompatible with their duties.


Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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