by Marco Zatterin
SUMMARY: Interview with Emma Bonino, recently appointed as EU Commissioner for humanitarian aid, fishing and consumer policy.
After a short bio, including her past experiences as a member of European Parliament, and the account of her Commisioner election against PDS's candidate Giorgio Napolitano, the article reports Bonino's statements about her future political actions [this issue of "The Bulletin" also includes a picture of E.Bonino, along with the others new EU Commissioners: "New Kids
on the block"]
(THE BULLETTIN, 19 january 1995)
This time it's going to be hard. Emma Bonino has survived 30 years of challenging political battles, but she probably never had to contend simultaneously with three separate responsibilities, all under the same roof. As "last come - last served", she was given the portofolios for Fisheries, Humanitarian Aid and Consumer Policies.
Bonino admits that she has not had direct experience in the Fisheries or Consumer Policies areas, but still she is confident. "Technical details are for experts she says. "What matters is the political drive, and I think I can provide it."
Italy's first woman Commissioner, who will be 46 in March, is already one of the historic leading ladies of the Italian Parliament, to wich she was first elected in 1976 at the age of 28, as a member of Marco Pannella's Radical Party.
Her career been highlighted by numerous sensational actions that were much in keeping with the spectacular style of her party: hunger strikes, television appearances bound to a chair, and a warrant for her arrest issued by the now European People's Party MEP Carlo Casini for her liberal stance on abortion.
She is returning to Brussels for a third time. Bonino was a member of the Europen Parliament from 1979 to 1984 and again from 1986 to 1989. Since the early days in Strasbourg, she has professed her faith in federalism. Fifteen years later her beliefs are even stonger. "Maastricht is ok", she says, "and so are the single market and the prospect of a single currency. But I think that the federalist ambition is, and was, a much more important principle".
The Europen Circus was puzzled by the way Bonino was chosen by the Italian government. Her name surfaced at the last minute, after a long quarrel between the Lega's candidates, and she won against the opposition's man, Giorgio Napolitano. Rome's decision came so suddenly that she herself received the news less than 20 hours before she was supposed to be starting her job with Jacques Santer.
The long-serving Radical Party secretary admits that she still has to develope her own ideas about the issues that she will confront. "I will be the Commissioner both for fish and for fishmen," she says. Concerning humanitarian aid, she hopes to develop a new, permanent structure that will help the development of the poorer countries. As for consumers, her first priority will be the information.
It is evident that this free spirit will have to be very careful in the warm-up days of the new Commission. Nevertheless, her political experience makes it seem likely that she will accomplish her tasks "al dente".