DAILY MAIL, 31.03.95 - From RONALD SINGLETON, in Rome
The figurehead of Europe's attacks on Canada is an antinuclear campaigner once branded a "witch" by the Pope for her views on abortion.
EU Fisheries Commissioner Emma Bonino has frequently hit out at Britain's Commonwealth ally, accusing it of "piracy" and behaving as if the high seas were the Wild West.
The 47-year-old bureaucrat is the darling of Left-Wing radicals in her native Italy. Her job covers consumer policy, humanitarian aid and fisheries. "I represent fishermen whose rights, work and wellbeing must at all costs be upheld" she has said.
Bonino, a devoted Euro federalist, was arrested in 1976 for saying she had "terminated a pregnancy" but released five days later after going on hunger strike. She was not sentenced because a subsequent law for which she had campaigned made abortion legal. The Vatican still called her a witch.
Her eccentric TV appearances -sometimes bound to a chair in a publicity stunt- have drawn huge audiences and she became known in Italy as "Super Emma". She has also been nicknamed "The Cyclone" for her 16-hour days and six-day weeks. On Sundays she relaxes by going yachting or skindiving.
She was elected an Italian MP in 1976, becoming a Euro MP as well three years later. She currently earns 140.000 a year plus perks and car.
In 1978 she launched a referendum against atomic energy which blocked nuclear power in Italy. Thirteen years later, she backed a call to make drugs available to addicts without prescription.
On becoming a commissioner, Bonino was given the fisheries dossier as a "last-come-lastserved" post. She freely admits that until recently she didn't know a halibut from a herring.
Her ignorance has not, however, daunted her. "Technical details are for experts" she once said. "What matters is the political drive and I think I can provide it".
Britain's immediate concern is to persuade her to put down her megaphone and negotiate in more traditional, diplomatic terms.
That, however, is not the Bonino way. Her statement on the dispute on Wednesday began: "It's time to stop the war of words".
It ran to nine pages.