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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Should Buttiglione be replaced?
European Union Commissioner-designate for Justice Rocco Buttiglione, left, poses with EU Commission President-designate Jose Manuel Barroso
The incoming president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has asked for a delay in the vote on his new team of commissioners.

Your second page of comments:

As an Italian I am quite proud that in my country people can still speak their mind out without being persecuted.
Nino, UK
As an Italian I am quite proud that in my country people can still speak their mind out without being persecuted. There are a lot of hypocritical people around whose views in public do not reflect their private views. Let's be honest if it was not for the Italians who stir up a bit of debate the European Parliament would be a boring place. I am pretty sure that one day every single EU citizen will receive a booklet recommending what to say and what to keep for yourself! Let's toast to Democracy!! Viva la Democrazia.
Nino, UK

It would appear that, in the European Parliament, the concept of free speech is only allowed if the opinions being aired happen to coincide with those of the people who shout the loudest.
Alan Rickards, Holmes Chapel, England

How disgraceful-what next? An EU edict instructing everybody that they are only allowed opinions if they conform to the liberal ideology that's prevalent at the time.
James Wilson, Needham Market, England

He should go. Justice is ill served by people who have prejudices - particularly at the level he is/was at. Justice should be for all. Barroso has made a farcical start. He should have bowed way before it came to a head. My guess is most modern right thinking people would agree the posting was inappropriate.
Shoib Khan, Edinburgh

Another threat of veto by a select few; another capitulation by a European "leader." Goodbye United States of Europe. Hello Eurocentric UN Jr.
John Murray, TX, USA

It seems that for the vast majority of MEPs, conservatives are only welcome in the EU leadership if they leave their political beliefs at the door. Apparently only liberal philosophies are acceptable in the EU bureaucracy.
Bruce MacNeil, Silver Spring, USA

It is not a question of Mr Buttiglione right to free speech.
Andy Ekins, Canterbury UK
It is not a question of Mr Buttiglione right to free speech. Of course he is entitled to have his own opinions and to express them as he sees fit. The problem is; can we trust him to exercise a fair and impartial view point when deciding upon on European issues?
Andy Ekins, Canterbury UK

It is good that Mr. Buttiglione is allowed to express his opinions. It is also good that Members of European Parliament take his opinions seriously and are ready to act accordingly to their own beliefs. This way everyone is equally free to say what they think and act accordingly.
Erika Voutilainen, Helsinki

Free speech was never meant to protect blind prejudice. He is entitled to his views of course, but anyone who is clearly a bigot should not be in a position where they can force their ignorant notions upon the rest of us.
Matthew Smart, London

Free speech and thought is his right, just as everyone else - even our Queen - should have that right. However, with rights come responsibilities, and this man's proposed role will require him to exercise very important responsibilities. Can he do that in an unbiased way? Could you?
Ken, Bournemouth UK

The whole Buttiglione issue is not about personal opinion; it is about getting the right person for the right job.
Isabel, Luxembourg
I am a European official working for the European Commission. The whole Buttiglione issue is not about personal opinion; it is about getting the right person for the right job.
Isabel, Luxembourg

Free speech is fine; but when a person with bigoted and reactionary views is proposed for an important and influential position, his right to free speech endangers the rights of many others.
Martha Hubbard, Kuressaare Estonia

Anybody may say everything in the EU. This is a basic right. But everybody must be assessed by what he thinks and says in the public before he is allowed to hold one of the highest political positions in the EU.
Klaus Willner, Ludwigsburg, Germany

Of course he should go; anyone holding these opinions is unsuitable for his job. He says these are his 'private' opinions - any politician who does not follow his beliefs is too hypocritical to be employed!
Jack, Essex, UK

My daughter works in the EU, in the section which would have come under Buttiglione's control. She was horrified when his name was first announced
Sheila, London
My daughter works in the EU, in the section which would have come under Buttiglione's control. She was horrified when his name was first announced, and more so when he started making his views known. How could he hope to get the best from his staff, at least 50% of whom are women? The first rule of diplomacy is to keep everyone happy, not to alienate half your staff.
Sheila, London

There is a problem with his candidacy: he holds beliefs directly contrary to the laws he is meant to be upholding (read article 2 of the draft constitution, which claims that 'respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights' are the EU's core values), and more importantly, he has said publicly that he will not vote against his beliefs. So to appoint him would be to accept someone who promises to vote against some of the most basic values of the institution he would be joining. Would it be discriminatory to refuse to employ a doctor whose stated aim was to kill his patients? I don't think it would.
Amy, UK/France

Decadence and moral decay of the "Old Europe" has been evident even before Buttiglione's hoopla. EU reminds me of Western Roman Empire before its demise.
Mirek Kondracki, Katowice, Poland

To Matt: for your information, EU has a Charter of Fundamental Human Rights which condemn homophobia and sexism. It is not a matter of socialist secular humanists.
Philippe, France

Should the EU be allowed to discriminate against a candidate who is otherwise qualified purely on the grounds of his religious beliefs?
John, Coventry UK
Should the EU be allowed to discriminate against a candidate who is otherwise qualified purely on the grounds of his religious beliefs? This would result in legal action if an employer did it in the UK. It is also a breach of articles 9 & 14 of the EU's own human rights convention. One law for all please.
John, Coventry UK

Buttiglione feels persecuted because he is catholic... Well what should I say¿ If he was in charge I would be totally scared of being persecuted as I am homosexual.... Doubly persecuted maybe because I am also catholic.... I would also like to reply to the one that said Buttiglione has the right to make public his own opinions... I agree with that as far as they are not offensive towards the so called minorities...
Max, Amsterdam, NL

I work for the EU in Italy and this is typical of how a person gets appointed both in the EU and in Italy. It has nothing to do with their personal competencies and everything to do with cronyism. Let's hope the EU's so-called reform will work this time. Name withheld for fear of reprisals.
Anon, Italy

Mr Buttiglione needs to remember that he is a mere appointee, has no mandate and represents no-one! Time to go before he perpetrates even more controversy and damage!
Carl Kodurand, Jakarta, Indonesia

This man has shown an unacceptable attitude to large groups within our community and should have no part in the EU structure. He is a bigot using the EU as a gravy boat.
Albert Bones, Scotland

A person's religious views are their own affair, but if these views are openly discriminatory
Sander, The Hague, The Netherlands
Buttiglione needs to go. A person's religious views are their own affair, but if these views are openly discriminatory then this person has no place in a position of authority. Mr. Buttiglione might say that his views will not affect his work, but they did the moment he aired them in front of a camera. In a multi-cultural society like Europe, we need bigots like we need a hole in the head.
Sander, The Hague, The Netherlands

I am worried about Mr Barroso's attitudes to the vote, particularly the scaremongering and the fact that MEPs are being asked to act as a rubber stamp. If a rejection of the commission will plunge the EU into a crisis then why do we have an approval mechanism in the first place? If the MEPs are expected to act as a rubber stamp, then don't be surprised if turnout for European elections is low. I bothered to vote the last time around, I expect my MEP to think about the implications of Mr Buttiglione's appointment and then to vote based on the facts and on the interests of her constituents.
Jose, Paris, France

I think that this is brilliant news for everyone but the eurosceptics. How often have we heard about "faceless Brussels bureaucrats" from them? Democracy is alive and well and living in Europe! As for Mr Buttiglione. He knows what the Charter says and, if he disagrees with its contents, he can either resign or try to change it. Maybe the U.K.I.P. spokesperson on "Women's Issues" should take note?
Harry, UK

Buttiglione should resign if he feels that his religious beliefs interfere with his job.
Anthony Azzopardi, Malta

Mr Buttiglione has lost a chance to keep quiet, but he is just a follower of a new Italian trend that has been set by his boss Berlusconi which consists in going from Rome to Brussels only to offend other people.
Oscar Lima, Brighton, UK

I did not think Mr Buttiglione is rejected because he is a Catholic but because he has very discriminative views on homosexual and he thus sounds as the Pope's spokesman which is unacceptable in a secular body such as the European commission. Furthermore it is ludicrous to use the word "sin" as tough homosexuality was to be compared with say murder or theft. Let us once and for all refuse the incessant interference of the Vatican in EU affairs.
Alain Hernu, Andresy France

The MEPs should vote in accordance with their political beliefs and consciences - after all, they are their to represent us, and if they vote for a Commission whose ideology is radically opposed to the views which each MEP represents, they will be betraying the people who have voted for them. Therefore, conservative MEPs (in the Peoples Party block) should vote yes; liberals and social democrats, no. Let democracy win the day.
Ivan Ingles, Madrid Spain

I see no crisis in case the EP rejects the new commission. The EP is not there just to vote "yes" to whatever proposals of the EU counsel. It will only increase the prestige of EP and it will be taken more seriously, just as we expect it to be in any of the member countries parliament.
Peter Crause, Pinneberg, Germany

Religion and Politics, especially at this level should not be mixed. If he has such strong beliefs as a Catholic then he should not preside over others civil liberties. I wonder what we would have made of his comments if his religion was Muslim or any other religion. These extreme views must not be part of any process, as judgment of others will always be clouded.
Alison, Middx, England

If Mr Buttiglione had expressed racist views then he would have been out the door in minutes
>Robert, Zurich, Switzerland
If Mr Buttiglione had expressed racist views then he would have been out the door in minutes, but some people still consider it acceptable to hold homophobic views. The parliament should vote to reject any commission that includes Mr Buttiglione.
Robert, Zurich, Switzerland

It's about time we had real controversy in the European Commission. It makes European politics interesting and provokes healthy debate. I think Rocco Buttiglione should keep his appointment. It's good to have varying points of view rather than silencing all opposition to current thinking.
Mark Neill, Bournemouth

This is a good opportunity for the parliament to demonstrate their underestimated position in the EU. By rejecting the proposed commission, it will not only show that it doesn't accept a narrow-minded Catholic on the post of commissioner for justice and civil liberties, but also that it is an important part of the EU that cannot be ignored.
Joram Verspaget, Utrecht, The Netherlands

If I didn't have any time for EU politics, I do now. This move represents the shove that was needed to outdated, bigoted and downright offensive views - private or public, the attitude of Mr Buttiglione didn't marry well with an institution that is meant to represent progress, liberty, tolerance and social justice.
Matthew Cattell, Bristol, UK

Why are the Catholics talking about discrimination against Buttiglione when he is the one to discriminate according to sexual orientation and gender? Anyway, how come homophobia and sexism are not considered as racism? If Buttiglione had said the same towards cultural or ethnic minorities, he would have been ejected immediately.
Bruno, Belgium

Traditional religious beliefs always were anathema to the left. Just imagine the leftist furore when the future first Turkish Commissioner is asked about his personal beliefs on homosexuality etc.
Jan Grootenboer, Bensheim, Germany

It seems that any criticisms of Mr Buttiglione do not concern his ability to do his job
Andy Bird, Cheshire, UK
It seems that any criticisms of Mr Buttiglione do not concern his ability to do his job, although perhaps tact and subtlety are not his strong points. However personally, I find it entertaining and I'm glad that there are a few characters left in politics that display 'human' traits.
Andy Bird, Cheshire, UK

EU a democracy? I think not, just look at who is opposing Mr. Buttiglione's nomination, communists, socialists, greens, liberals these are hardly groups that support democratic ideologies, to them the only ideas and values that matter are their own, to them, anybody with conservative ideas is no good and that is very poor and weak democratic thinking or should I say very strong repressive ideological thinking
John Pires, Portuguese/ USA

I wonder if any of the people complaining about anti-catholic bias would see things a little differently if Barroso tried to appoint someone who believed Catholicism was a sin to the position of "Commissioner for Religious Tolerance"?
Gary, Henley-on-Thames

His opinions and thinking shall shape the way he performs in office. There can be no assurances whatsoever that he would not act on his opinions, rather it is certain that he would. Such is the nature of man.
Ryan Mcbride, Singapore

I thought the EU was a democratic organisation, and my understanding of democracy is that people are allowed to express their views - no matter how antiquated - without fear of being persecuted. Obviously not. It's freedom of speech... just don't say anything that will upset people!
Alex, Coventry, UK

The EU is becoming too large and diverse to meet the goals of any one specific member, which will ultimately lead to its demise. The objectives of member states are being diluted by its growing size. The EU is on its way of becoming as effective as the UN.
Rob G., Kansas City, USA

Mr. Buttiglione should certainly leave the commission and the Italian government should stop stonewalling the creation of a secular Europe that must be based on common values. Stem cell research, gay rights, abortion and the right of women are relatively modern issues but that are of extreme importance and for which a new mind set is needed in order to unify Europe and bring it to the future. A Commissioner incapable of listening to the new social issues, that would propose to approach new social developments with bigotry belonging to the past isn't the right commissioner for the Europe that has to stay ahead as leading union, both economically and in human rights
Stefano Campanini, Miami, USA

So much for free speech and a right to one's beliefs
Carole, UK
So much for free speech and a right to one's beliefs it is totally outrageous that honesty is mistreated this way. I don't agree with his views but respect his right to voice them.
Carole, UK

You can't have a homophobe and misogynist in a position like that. It is simply an outrageously dangerous position to be in. His views, if he feels he needs to publicly express them as a European politician, are extremely pertinent to his appointment and therefore he should be removed. I was coming round to entering Europe proper, now, with men like this being appointed I am starting to rethink what on earth we are doing in Europe. It is ridiculous and goes against the whole ethos of European human rights legislation. If this man is allowed to stay in his position, I will be voting no to Europe.
Jennifer Hynes, Plymouth, UK

As an Italian and a European I feel deeply embarrassed by Buttiglione's remarks. Once again this Italian government has failed to represent the real values and feelings of the Italian people. Not to mention the Europeans.
Peter Kruger, Rome, Italy

I am a Christian, a European, and Gay. It is not for his views that I would censor Mr Buttiglone
Martin M Graham, Paris France
I am a Christian, a European, and Gay. It is not for his views that I would censor Mr Buttiglione, he has a right to his opinion, but Europe needs clever and discrete people to shape and form its future, people for whom the greater good is of more importance than their particular perspective. Mr Buttiglione has managed to become the focus of a debate that is really about things far more important than himself - is he the right man to preside over sensitive and controversial policy issues?
Martin M Graham, Paris France

It is unambiguous that Mr Buttiglione is not only incompetent to occupy this position, but any other public position, whether at European or national level. The repercussion of the rejection of the entire commission is insignificant and does not constitute a crisis. This would be merely a political restructuring and should be as an institutional one.
Otto, Middlesex, UK

There is no reason I should "demand" that Mr Buttiglione shares my views when in no country voters agree with all ministers' views. South Africa has some ministers and people in other high profile positions, who are members of the communist party and act like if they invented capitalism and I like them. Mr Buttiglione deserves a chance.
Artur de Freitas, Johannesburg, South Africa

The EU Commission needs people of principles and strong moral fibre with a sense of justice. Mr Buttiglione's strong religious convictions will prevail over his personal views in ascertain that his duties are carried out in accordance with EU's constitutional principles which are not against the Ten Commandments. Mr Barroso should stick to his principles, that is what strong leadership is about.
Pino, Woking, UK

The furore surrounding Buttiglione is a disgrace. When push comes to shove there's no-one more unbending and illiberal than the 'liberals'. You can't beat them for cringe worthy moral certainty and self righteousness!
Nick, Hove

It is not just what Mr Buttiglione said, although this was dreadful, but also his history of trying to influence legislation that really worries. For the EU parliament to be exercising its rights is a positive sign of the re-emergence of representative government in Europe, not a crisis.
Mike, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

It does not bode well for the EU and democracy if Barroso cannot listen to the voices clamouring for the removal of Buttiglione from his team. Go ahead Barroso, stand by your guns by all means...but don't spend the next few years whinging about the fact that no one will cooperate with you.
Malcolm, Dubai, UAE

The row over Mr. Buttiglione is not directed towards Christianity or people of Christian (or any other religious) persuasion. Bluntly, nobody should be chastised over their beliefs - in any direction. However, as suitable as Mr. Buttiglione might be for several other positions in the EU, he is not suitable to be the person upholding the office overseeing issues dealing with equal rights for all EU citizens.
Pasi, Finland

Once again the voice of moderation and reason is threatened by the politically correct brigade
Fred Watson , London England
Once again the voice of moderation and reason is threatened by the politically correct brigade. All power to Mr. Buttiglione and his commonsense views, I trust that the Italian people will stand firm in their choice of commissioner.
Fred Watson , London England

Is free speech banned in European politics? Rocco Buttiglione talks about what he believes. Is that wrong?
Carlos Cortiglia, London, United Kingdom

Who says principled people are in the minority? I'd vote for him any day
Niamh Choo, Singapore

It sounds to me like Mr Buttiglione has sensible views, unlike many politically correct MEPs echoing views contrary to the silent majority of the population.
Allan Isaacs, Christchurch, UK

Perhaps Buttiglione should have been given the Trade brief. The concern is not that he has Christian beliefs - many of us do - but that he has shown himself to be unaware of the extent to which his declared views are incompatible with the Justice brief.
Jacqueline, London UK

Is it not time to modify the rules to enable MEPs to veto individual commissioners? The Buttiglione case demonstrates a failing in the current structure. It would be crazy to reject the whole Commission because of one person; that's why reform to permit rejection of individual commissioners is necessary. The sensible immediate compromise is to reshuffle Buttiglione into a post where his views have no relevance to his job but reform on acceptance of the Commission is urgently needed. Rejection of the whole Commission and restarting the whole selection process is a monumental waste of time and money.
John M, Lyne Meads, UK

Buttiglione does not have the right to give his opinion once he is named to be in a public position. Buttiglione makes me ashamed of being an Italian.
Roberto Marabotto, London

Given that there is already a public perception of there being a "democracy deficit" in the EU, I find Barroso's actions quite tactless: He, an appointed politician, is in effect challenging and daring the European Parliament, which is one of the only directly elected EU bodies. So much for democracy. Of course he can stand firm, but I don't think he has demonstrated an amazing amount of thought and diplomacy in this case as to what message he sends.
A. Rahman, London UK

To Matt from Sweden: Mr Buttiglione has already shown his lack of professionalism during the hearing - by making his uninvited and gratuitous remarks. He added fuel to the fire by stating later that he is persecuted because he is a catholic. He may qualify for a circus, but not for the job of Commissioner for Justice.
Ronald Vopel, Brussels, Belgium

As an Italian, I am embarrassed by Buttiglione's comments, especially on single mothers.
Carlo Broglia, Milano, Italy
As an Italian, I am embarrassed by Buttiglione's comments, especially on single mothers. Of course he is entitled to express his opinion, and of course the EU Parliament is right in censoring a view that is medieval and offensive to a group that has a lot of hardship already: single mothers.
Carlo Broglia, Milano, Italy

An honest commissioner? We can't have that, can we?.
Phil, Oxford UK

Yes. The Commission should respect the wishes of the Parliament which represents the voice of the People of Europe. Europe is not waiting for another technocrat's arrogance. The People of Europe already feel disconnected with EU politics and decision making. This will negatively influence the future co-operation between the Commission and the Parliament.
Alfons Lentze, Barcelona, Spain

The whole idea of a democracy is that everybody is entitled to a voice even if the majority disagree with it. Mr Buttiglione has had the courage to express his views on issues that are regarded as taboo by most politicians eager to bow to 'Political Correctness'. Rightly or wrongly his views are shared by tens of millions of EU citizens. They deserve a voice. Tolerance works both ways.
Ben Ign, Leeds UK

What's the point of voting in MEPs if they do not have any power?
Duncan Kirby, Nicosia Cyprus

The European human rights act demands freedom of religion. Denying someone a job because of their religious beliefs is a crime. If Mr Buttiglione is denied this job because of his religious beliefs then the European justice commission will be in breach of its own laws. It is quite amusing to see the EU badly stung by its own political correctness.
Peter, Nottingham (U.K)

For once it is nice to see the EU show some conviction
Des FitzGerald, London
For once it is nice to see the EU show some conviction but now we can only imagine at the sordid deals being done behind the scenes and who is selling their soul to get through this mess. Yet politicians still wonder why the public distrust them and are so cynical about the EU? The new President should admit he got it wrong and take responsibility and show some leadership.
Des FitzGerald, London

Surely this is democracy in action? The elected representatives of European counties are exercising their influence on the Commission leadership. Barroso should react and would be right to remove him; he clearly cannot act appropriately and would be a liability in the future.
Tim, London, England

It's like 'Kremlin watching' all over again! It might be funny except that the EU becomes more centralising and dictatorial by the month. Time for an uprising against this farcical waste of money called the EU?
Paul M, Lincs, UK

Signor Buttiglione's remarks about homosexuals and women's place being in the home (Kinder, Küche, Kirche - Children, Kitchen, Church) were being expressed by a certain Herr Hitler some 70 years ago. In making the remarks that he did Buttiglione invoked an unwelcome ghost from the past - homosexuals were amongst the first to be sent to concentration camps and were degraded further by the compulsory wearing of a pink triangle. Small wonder there is uproar, justified or not.
Trish Wilson, London, UK

I think that this is a witch-hunt against conservative Christians by the left
Paul, Dublin, Ireland
I think that this is a witch-hunt against conservative Christians by the left. This man is entitled to his opinions let us not accept that Christianity nowadays is a silent majority and we are entitled to our opinions. I admire Buttiglione, and wish him well in the future.
Paul, Dublin, Ireland

Maybe if the people had to elect Commissioners we would get a more representative EU. The delayed vote is putting of the inevitable. The EU is a narrow minded organisation that is very intolerant of anyone or anything that does not fit in with its left wing, socialist leanings. I am glad that this has shown them for what they are - liberal authoritarians. I look forward to the day when a British PM is brave enough to call a referendum on the UK's complete withdrawal from the EU.
Roger Morgan Freedlan, Whitwick, England

No I do not think the vote should be delayed. Mr Buttiglione is living in a democracy and is entitled to his opinion. Or have we now lost that right as well by joining the EU
Sharon Day, Poole England

This opposition to the appointment of Mr Buttiglione is just further evidence of the Anti-Christian and Anti-Catholic sentiment sweeping across Europe. He is perfectly entitled to express his views, because after all, democracy is supposed to be alive and well. Maybe some sections of the EU would prefer a political system, more akin to the Chinese model, where free speech is suppressed, and opponents imprisoned or killed for their beliefs.
John D, Middlewich, Cheshire

Buttiglione is an unsuitable candidate. It is extremely encouraging to see that the European parliament has prevailed; and was not prepared to be dictated to by national governments. This is a big step forward.
Mark Layton, De Meern, The Netherlands

I think this is a significant achievement for the European Parliament
Greg_Myddelton, Bromley, England
I think this is a significant achievement for the European Parliament; this decision by the Commission may go a long way in helping the EU to address its democratic deficit.
Greg_Myddelton, Bromley, England

Rather than a sinking ship, this signals a shift from technocracy to real representative politics in 'Brussels', with a parliamentary majority (the conservatives) and an opposition (left-wing/liberal) giving them a hard time. This new power of the Parliament, representing EU citizens, has clearly taken the Commission by surprise, and the only thing Barroso can do to get out of a crisis is to listen to Parliament and replace Buttiglione.
Frans, Amsterdam

The Commission should reflect all shades of opinion & not only the liberal one
A. J. Davis, Limassol Cyprus

MEPs ostensibly condemn discrimination, yet the row over Buttiglione's candidature is an example of discrimination at it's worst. If political correctness and inexperience are celebrated, why should anyone have faith in the EU?
Maddie, Cambridge, UK

Why bother having a commission and MEPs at all? Why not simply appoint some right-thinking people who can pat themselves on the back and police our thoughts?
Graham, Milton Keynes, UK

This back down is a proof that the European Union works. Too bad for UKIP. How many countries have a mechanism where those elected by the people are immune to pressure from the governments? Certainly not the UK...
Pedro Martel, Geneve, Switzerland

Absolutely! I am over the moon that the European Parliament is using its democratic power. Well done MEPs!
MG, London, UK

Buttiglione was only ever appointed as part of a domestic Italian power struggle within Berlusconi's coalition. Hence the poor quality. Berlusconi in particular has never quite understood the attitude in the EU towards him, as he is never subjected to scrutiny in his own country. The idea of having Berlusconi's man in charge of EU justice is, frankly, scary, no matter what his views on gays and women might be. The EU has to make it clear that Italy's problems cannot be exported to the whole community.
John, Bologna, Italy

So it is OK for someone who had to resign twice! For impropriety from being a Cabinet Minster in the UK to be nominated and accepted to the "extremely" important EU post of Commissioner for Trade by the EU. However, someone who has the integrity to express his personal and religious views - which do not accord with the liberal political elite viewpoint - is unsuitable. He should have kept his mouth shut. Obviously, it is not about what one does it is about what one says.
Martin, UK

Mr. Buttiglione can hold whatever views he likes. But they show that he is totally unsuitable for the post of commissioner for justice and civil liberties.
Jose Pinto, Lisbon Portugal
Mr. Buttiglione can hold whatever views he likes. But they show that he is totally unsuitable for the post of commissioner for justice and civil liberties. Also by airing them he has demonstrated that he is not terribly bright either - so dump him Barroso!
Jose Pinto, Lisbon Portugal

I admire Mr Buttiglione for being honest, even though I believe his remarks were disgraceful. However, the real issue here must surely be that by not recognising, immediately, that it would be wrong for Rocco Buttiglione to proceed to take his seat as Commissioner, Jose Barroso has also tarnished his own reputation and standing. Barroso's judgement is now irrevocably tarnished and that is even before he takes his seat - Barroso clearly doesn't recognise right from wrong and should resign!
Garry Howes, Wokingham, England

Seems to me that Mr. Buttiglione gave an honest answer to the questions he was asked. In present day politics that is a rare thing. We normally get some Teflon coated shoulder reply that says nothing for fear of offending someone. Would you have preferred a non-reply from the man? It may well have meant that he got the job but his personal views would still have been the same. Only difference would be that we would not know - just like the rest of them! Now that everybody knows his personal views he will be watched by all and sundry and any step out of line is likely to be very quickly challenged. That should make him ideal for the post, a politician who is closely watched!
Terry, Epsom, Surrey, England

Some people say that Buttiglione should be replaced with someone whose opinion matches that of the majority of the people. Well, I don't think any politician has the same opinion as the people; they seem to do whatever they like.
Miran, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

The British commissioner had to twice resign in disgrace from government office. If he is anything to go by, they are right in rejecting them.
Bill , Lanarkshire

If the European Parliament is to seen as a truly representative organisation, it should be capable of accepting controversial views
R Poole, UK
If the European Parliament is to seen as a truly representative organisation, it should be capable of accepting controversial views and working with them. If special interest groups are prepared to cause a crisis due to their inability to accept the views of others, then what hope for democracy?
R Poole, Great Britain Gravesend

I believe the membership of Mr Buttiglione is impossible in the European Commission, as his views contradict with home legislation on marriage and gay issues in a significant number of European countries. Moreover, the portfolio of the Justice Commissioner is to be granted only to the person with progressive, up-to-date views and visions of solutions of diverse matters, because his responsibilities include making proposals on introducing amendments to legislation, and the results of legislative moves are to influence the lives of common Europeans in the further run.
Evgeniy Krasnov, Moscow, Russia

Absolutely, if that is what the parliament decides. It is only normal that the elected parliament should take precedence over the interests of possible Commissioners nominated by national governments for all sorts of different reasons
Garry Hutton, UK / France

Mr. Buttiglione should not be penalised for merely stating the truth and for sticking to his principles.
John, Paris France
Mr. Buttiglione should not be penalised for merely stating the truth and for sticking to his principles. The Commission needs more members like him.
John, Paris France

This is democracy in action on a European level. No-one should now complain that the commission is not democratically accountable - it clearly is. It is part of a healthy democratic system that when a majority of directly elected members of a parliament believes that a person is not suitable for executive office, he should not be appointed. That is not discrimination, it's policy and politics. And that's why we elect our MEPs.
Joren De Wachter, Brussels, Belgium

Is it an offence to discriminate against a person for their religious beliefs? If it is, surely the groups who are not recommending Mr Buttiglione's candidature for commissioner because of his views on homosexuality should be investigated.
Bellch, Munster, Ireland

Democracy comes to the EU at last! We need more of this, to ensure that the people of Europe begin to be served by the MEPs they have elected, rather than by a bunch of people who are just the mates of powerful people in Europe.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

Buttiglione's supporters claim that being against him is being against freedom of opinions and democracy, and that liberals are being anti-Catholic. I am quite surprised that homophobia and sexism are considered by those people as an opinion worth respecting. Let us recall that homophobia and sexism are just a form of racism, which are all condemned by the EU fundamental rights. Is racism an opinion worth respecting? Democracy and freedom of opinion does not entitle them to interfere with other people lives, or insult them. Democracy is about respecting others. Catholics should learn to mind their own business and stop attempting to impose their views on society. Nobody interferes with their life, so why should they be allowed to do it with ours?

The European Parliament has come of age. Democracy is alive and kicking and lives in Brussels!
David, England

I want to see the commission work, it is vital that it does. However the choice of Buttiglione was a big mistake and a simple reshuffling will not remedy that. We need someone else in his place, simple!
Nick da Costa, Birmingham, UK

Quite frankly it should never have got to this point. If Mr Buttiglione had any honour he would have withdrawn as soon as it was clear his candidacy was a problem that could not be resolved. By not doing so he has proved he would have been the wrong candidate for the Justice post.
b, London UK

It isn't a reshuffle that is needed, it is a better set of commissioners altogether.
Tom, London
It isn't a reshuffle that is needed, it is a better set of commissioners altogether. Most of them are failed or disgraced national politicians. As long as nation states offload their unwanted politicians on the Commission then there is little hope for the EU. If we are going to expect some sense from EU politics each state should start by appointing Commissioners who are fit to take office. Buttiglione is not such a person.
Tom, London

Mr Buttiglione has every right to express his Christian believes but his role as Justice Commissioner is a public office not a personal brief. He should be there to implement policy that has been set and decided upon, the very fact that he expressed his personal beliefs is an indication that they will conflict with his public role. Mr Barroso has disappointed me for his clear lack of judgement on this delicate matter. He has now faced an embarrassing face down from the Parliament for his stubborn approach and refusal to reallocate Mr Buttiglione to another brief. The European Institutions have been exposed for the ridiculous undemocratic structures that are.
Iain , Dublin, Ireland

This shows that to not discriminate against other peoples personal and religious beliefs is wrong and should not be protected at any level. People who have beliefs that oppress women, persecute homosexuals or are totalitarian in nature should not be let into power however popular they are with the electorate. However to police this an independent body (Perhaps a form of Thought Police) needs to be set up that can remove people from power whether they have communist, fascist, misogynistic or homophobic views.
Matt , London

It is such a shame with so many other excellent commissioners such as Viviane Reding that we have to go through this circus. I do agree though that the Parliament is right to put the Commission in its place. Time for some more reforms maybe.
Mark W, Brussels, Belgium

Notwithstanding the blatantly sectarian attitudes of those blocking Buttiglione's appointment, it reinforces the view that while conservatives will tell you what to do, liberals will tell you what to think. I know which I prefer.
Anthony, Drogheda, Ireland

This is all about credibility. If civil rights would no have been part of his portfolio then there would not have been a problem. But now how credible will he be defending equal rights if he sees them as wrong. Furthermore does he have these views only about gays and women or does he also hold similar views towards non Catholics? Once again a deplorable stunt from the Berlusconi.
Filip Michielsen, Antwerp, Belgium

Democracy and freedom of speech are vital ingredients that the EU must respect
Derek Wood, Penrith, England
Democracy and freedom of speech are vital ingredients that the EU must respect but it cannot be right that a man with prejudicial views holds an important post in the government of Europe. Even more ironic when he is to be responsible for overseeing human rights issues. Get rid of him and dinosaurs like him!
Derek Wood, Penrith, England (UK)

On one hand, I find the appointment of Mr. Buttiglione right and democratic, since it represents the different, as well as dissident opinions which exist in the EU. On the other hand, however, I fear that Rocco Buttiglione will oppose future Turkish EU membership unconditionally, regardless of whether Turkey fulfils the membership criteria or not. By acting in this biased way he would also hurt EU's credibility in international arena.
Kaan Sahilyol, Istanbul Turkey

You can only laugh at the irony of this. Mr Buttiglione, it seems, is not fit to take the position because people believe he may discriminate against those he believes are living in sin. (There is no indication that this will be the case.) On the other hand, MEPs appear to be discriminating against Mr Buttiglione on the basis of his religious beliefs. It sometimes seems to me that Secularism is the fastest growing and most fundamentalist religion in Europe. What is worse, it is forced upon the majority by a PC minority, (many Europeans have religious convictions).
Chris, UK

The fact that Barroso selected this man for this task surely raises huge questions about his judgement too. They should both go. Religion has no place in politics, it is purely divisive
Martin Hardwidge, Nottingham United Kingdom

If the EU cannot show any unity, how can we depend and rely on them to look after the EU affairs
Ravi Ghosh, Peterborough, UK
If the EU cannot show any unity and a quick resolution to this problem, then how can we depend and rely on them to look after the EU affairs. One man's personal opinion should not cause a stir. As long as his opinion does not affect influencing the future EU policies then we should not complain.
Ravi Ghosh, Peterborough, UK

Mr. Buttiglione has an established record in Italian politics of bringing his religious beliefs into law-making and administrative actions, which disqualifies him as commissioner for justice.
Gil Leppelmeier, Espoo, Finland

I totally don't agree with Buttiglione's conservative ideas on homosexuality and marriage, but I don't understand why he couldn't be a commissioner. I mean people with the very same ideas are in power in various European countries and many common people share the same view on these issues. I think that a lot of people in European parliament are against Buttiglione only for ideological reasons.
Vincenzo, London, UK

A commissioner's personal views cannot be so neatly separated from his public activity
Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford, UK
A commissioner's personal views cannot be so neatly separated from his public activity, whether in questions of human rights or those of free trade versus protection. In any form of law enforcement there are open-and-shut cases and there are others that admit of discretion. We may allow that Signor Buttiglione, faced with an open-and-shut case, will do his duty irrespective of his religious beliefs; but when there appears to be an element of discretion, will he exercise it on the side of equality or on that of his morality?
Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford, UK

Perhaps we should see this as a boost for the citizen's voice in the EU. The democratically elected European Parliament, who are supposed to represent the EU public, are finally being listened to. Three cheers!
Oliver Wall, Brussels

Let's have some democracy here. There are 700 million people in the EU. We should have the right to vote. Lets have some candidates and an election.
John Lawrence, Southampton, UK

The commission is supposed to reflect to the rest of the world what the EU is about. Equality, tolerance and understanding. Yet this facade is doing nothing but showing that conservative right wing views are acceptable in institutions that have a significant influence over our lives.
Christopher Thompson, Manchester, UK

His choice of Buttiglione as Commissioner for Justice and Civil Liberties is incomprehensible.
William Smith, Seattle, USA
Cracks in the structure of the EU will only grow wider. Expanding by 10 countries was a very serious mistake. Choosing Barroso was also a big mistake. His choice of Buttiglione as Commissioner for Justice and Civil Liberties is incomprehensible. The EU is on a irreversible downward spiral.
William Smith, Seattle, USA

I really don't care about the individuals and their issues, I just want to see the EU in disarray and crisis.
Stephen Charles, Hertfordshire, UK

Yet another storm in a euro-cup. Mr Buttiglione has the right to hold whatever views he chooses, regardless of whether some quarters regard them as "inappropriate" or "outdated". There is a huge difference between having a belief and that belief influencing policy. In an ideal world we wouldn't see lone-parent families languishing in poverty in council sink estates, but the fact that such families exist means that some provision needs to be made for them.
John B, UK

This is not a good start for the new team. Clearly the Justice and Home Affairs portfolio cannot go to a man whose views are unjust in this modern world.
Gillian, Eng

If Parliament had the power to reject individual commissioners, Buttiglione would have been quickly replaced and the Commissioners could have got on with their new jobs. Instead there is a big risk of everything grinding to a halt. It shows how pathetic the EU system is.
Alan, Perth, Scotland

The proposed team should be reshuffled. Mr Buttiglione is not suitable for the particular job of Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner. But to force him out of the Commission altogether would be to discriminate against his religious beliefs. Mr Buttiglione is not the only candidate who is not suitable for the Commission post to which he or she has been appointed. This is a chance for a fresh start for Mr Barroso and for the European parliament to assert its rights.
Edward, Geneva, Switzerland

If Mr Barroso is still keen on having Rocco Buttiglione on board, let him offer him another, less controversial post
Simon, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Mr Buttiglione has, in the past, actively thought to get sexual preference removed from the list of EU discrimination offences. This is not just about his opinions, to which he is entitled, this is about his record as a politician. It is simply inconsistent with the values of the Union. The Euro MP's are doing what voters want them to do: make sure the commission and the policies reflect the values of our society. That's a good thing. If Mr Barroso is still keen on having Rocco Buttiglione on board, let him offer him another, less controversial post.
Simon, Amsterdam, Netherlands

So what sort of politician do people want in these positions of power? One of principle and morals, with the courage of his convictions? Or one who will not take any moral stance lest it 'offend' anyone, only responding to the prejudices of the mob?
Ben, Leeds, UK

Why should Mr Buttiglione go? Isn't the EU's belief that no one should be discriminated because of race, religion or beliefs?
Domingos Nogueira, Porto, Portugal

I thought this was supposed to be a free democracy. Is he not entitled to his own opinions? Can you only hold office if you tow the line with your personal views..? That isn't freedom or democracy.
Paul Sealey, Cannock, England

It is offensive to many people that a man holding such illiberal views should wield such power. Anyone who states that Mr Buttiglione's personal opinions will not affect his professional judgment are ignorant of or ignore the fact that he has already opposed EU legislation on equality.
Hugh, Sunderland, England

Let the President listen to the voice of the elected representatives of the parliament and thereby show to the world that the European parliament is not a mere rubberstamp of the Commission!
Srinivasan Toft, Humlebæk, Denmark

I don't see any problem in Mr Buttiglione being a commissioner, I just have a big problem with someone professing such reactionary views being in charge of the Justice and Home Affairs portfolio. Why can't a compromise be arranged and have him reshuffled to another portfolio?
Rob, UK

The EU is a pioneer and a model for civil liberties and fundamental rights for the rest of the world. A "No" vote for a sexist and anti-gay is only way to protect this.
Rabih Yazbeck, Beirut, Lebanon

I am not an EU expert but I, like many others, don't see the real purpose of the commission. Until now it seems its main purpose is to sideline the democratically elected Parliament. We should dispose of the commission permanently.
Nico van Leeuwen, Aachen Germany

A reshuffle has to take place if the people's voices are to be heard. We can not allow us to be lenient when fundamentalist beliefs try to undermine democratic cornerstones. If we let Buttiglione in, he paves the way for an elitist agenda that stems from the Vatican. And that means oppression.
Ola, Stockholm, Sweden

An extraordinary error of judgement
Andrew, Tokyo, Japan
I think it was an extraordinary error of judgement to give the role of justice and civil liberties to such a man. He is of course entitled to his opinions but to voice such biased and frankly outdated comments demonstrates a certain naivety. Justice must be 'perceived' to be neutral.
Andrew, Tokyo, Japan

The European Parliament should gain far more power. Part of a more democratic process will be that they have to vote against the entire European Commission, if they don't trust one or more members of the Commission in relation to their posts. Maybe after such a defeat the system will be made more democratic next time.
Frits Plantinga, Sneek, The Netherlands

I don't agree entirely with Mr Buttiglione's views either, but surely until it is demonstrated that he is unprofessional in his actual conduct his convictions shouldn't matter. After all, where is it written that the EU must be staffed by socialist secular humanists, who seem in this instance to be equally capable of the shrieking self-righteousness of any witch-burning puritan?
Matt, Stockholm, Sweden

Mr Buttiglione is very much allowed to have his opinions and his views, however controversial they might be. However, somebody in public office should represent the views of the majority of the people. It is obvious that Mr Buttiglione's views are not shared by the majority of the people of the European Union and therefore he should not represent them in the post of commissioner for justice and civil liberties.
Mark Holleman, Singapore

I thought discrimination on account of someone's personal views was a thing of the past. Except now, it seems, if those views are Christian. Christianity has been the norm for centuries of European history, but now left wing and "liberal" MEPs want to bar someone from office who holds views consistent with Christian truth! What are these MEPs afraid of, and who are the bigots now?! Mr Barroso should stand firm and give Mr Buttiglione all the responsibilities he originally intended.
Phil, UK

I didn't understand the uproar until I read that Buttiglione's post involved civil liberties. I was born Catholic and value many aspects of the religion, but I wouldn't want a strict follower of any religion presiding over my civil rights. Most religions are exclusive in one way or another. People who choose to view the world through that prism of exclusivity are incapable of making unbiased decisions on civil rights.
Anthony, USA

Will others learn from his experience?
Ebi Ogbaide, Florence, Italy

The whole furore would have been totally unnecessary, if Mr Buttiglione had understood that, at times, to keep quiet is good manners. To talk too much in the name of free speech, some times, can be irresponsible. Will others learn from his experience?
Ebi Ogbaide, Florence, Italy

It is a disgrace that Mr Barroso is being persecuted by an anti-Catholic agenda amongst the European Parliament. Is one no longer allowed to be both a believer and a politician?
Paul Gargaro, Rome, Italy

This fiasco just highlights the madness of the EU. It is too big to work efficiently and is corrupt from the core. The sooner we leave it the better!
Julian, South England

Backing down from supporting his commission will only show further weakness in the leadership of the EU. The constant pandering, bickering, and political correctness is what has made the UN the impotent mess it is. There is a distinct line between political wrangling and simple juvenile whining. The EU will need to have true leadership if it ever hopes to be comparable to the US.
John Murray, TX, USA

Rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic won't change a thing. The EU is doomed no matter who is in charge or what they do. The current row over the appointment of Rocco Buttiglione is merely a symptom of what is wrong, not the cause.
Mark, USA

No he should not. I for one am glad that there will be one man of principle in the commission and it will be led by a man who recognises it.
John, France

If they don't get rid of Rocco Buttiglione it says something about the whole team.
Dan, UK

Barroso should not reshuffle his team. Buttiglione was misunderstood by touchy people and press of a certain persuasion. While these groups are unjustifiably afraid he might discriminate against some of them for their views, they are themselves discriminating against him because of his personal convictions which will not interfere with his work at all.
John B. Pace, Malta

Buttiglione made a mistake by expressing his personal beliefs public.
GM, United States

He must reshuffle his team. The future health of civil liberties in Europe depends on the confidence of the civil liberties committee of the EP being retained.
Stephen Jakobi, London

Any opinion of whether Barroso should change his line-up will clearly reflect personal views. However, those opposed to Barroso "backing down" over Buttiglione should bear in mind the nature of his portfolio. I personally think it's outrageous that a man of such reactionary, offensive views could be appointed to a post tasked with civil liberties. Furthermore, if the Commission is intended to represent the EU, how can Buttiglione's remarks ever be reconciled with the bloc's principles on human rights and equality.
Karma Hickman, Rome, Italy

EU needs to move forward not backwards. Rocco Buttiglione is a very poor choice, and should be replaced. Vote to replace the whole commission- this is Barroso's fault, and he needs to go as well.
Anon, UK

Analysis: EU team a hard sell
21 Oct 04 |  Europe
Profile: Rocco Buttiglione
21 Oct 04 |  Europe

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