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Archivio Emma Bonino commissario UE
Det Fri Aktuelt - 7 giugno 1995

The Italian Emma Bonino is the European Union's best imaginable ally of the world's hungry, sick and suffering Havana and Port au Prince

7 GIUGNO 1995

"Det Fri Aktuelt", danish daily

senza firma


SOMMARIO. Bell'articolo, pieno di entusiasmo, in cui si dà atto delle capacità di Emma Bonino, sarcasticamente paragonandole (ma facendole fare una brutta figura) la Commissaria danese, Bjerregaard, e preconizzandole un avvenire di grande rilievo.

The Danish EU Commissioner, Ritt Bjerregaard, delights in labelling herself a controversial person. She has only one serious competitor for that title in the Commission : the 47-year old Italian, Emma Bonino. But whereas Ms Bjerregard's controversial actions often have to do with her own person, apartment or pension, etc., colleague Bonino is not at all like that. She, too, likes to be controversial, but always in achieving something for other people.

When still in Italian politics she went on hunger strike several times to draw attention to the problems of the Third World. As an active campaigner for free abortion in Italy she turned herself in to the police for having had an illegal abortion. As a result she had to do a stint in prison until the Italian authorities had to let her out again in the wake of huge demonstrations and heavy political pressure.

Spending six days travelling with Bonino - as the author of this article did in strenuous conditions and 40 degrees of heat in Haiti's worst slums, one moment surrounded by starving children, the next in the company of the legendary Fidel Castro - has afforded a human picture of an EU Commissioner that the public only gets to know from their television screens.

Here is Commissioner Bonino at Madrid Airport , collecting passports and airline tickets - with a broad grin on her face - and dividing them up into smokers and non-smokers (she herself is a heavy smoker), even though she is surrounded by officials who are on the trip among other things to take care of such formalities.

Here she is spontaneously hugging a British relief worker who had told how every day, together with his helpers, he hands out basic foodstuffs to mothers with small children whose only meal is what they get here.

But here she is, too, amicably but firmly explaining to relief organizations in PortauPrince that they must pull themselves together and start cooperating better.

Scant attention was paid to Emma Bonino when she was appointed as one of the two Italian EU Commissioners. She became known as the one who was appointed last because the Prime Minister at the time, Silvio Berlusconi, had difficulty in deciding who should have the job.

Her late arrival meant she had to make do with the tasks that had not yet been assigned in the Commission. She received responsibility for fisheries (owing to the Norwegian "No"), consumer policy and humanitarian aid. This latter brief was the only one she had asked for as for many years she had been involved in this field.

After just four months in the job Emma Bonino has already gone to three of the most unpleasant destinations imaginable: former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Haiti.

And if her commitment, enthusiasm and interest during her visit to Cuba and Haiti are anything to go by, there is no doubt whatsoever that over the coming years many people in distress can count on meeting the Italian Commissioner.

It is difficult to imagine that she would give up as long as there are still hungry children somewhere in the world.

As described elsewhere on this page, the European Union's relief effort has not been all that visible. With Emma Bonino at the helm, it now has a spokesperson who is willing to go to prison or on hunger strike for her cause.

There is scarcely any doubt that we will be hearing more about relief work and about MsBonino in the years ahead.

Argomenti correlati:
unione europea
castro fidel
berlusconi silvio
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