And I can tell you, it was not on the cards. In fact, in the final version, the ban on snus is still there.
In fact, to tell you the truth, we were also suggesting a ban on all smokeless tobacco but that was changed when we negotiated with the other services in the Commission.
So your position was to ban all smokeless tobacco and this was changed after resistance from the European Commission?
Perhaps the most interesting part is at the end of the interview when Dalli says that he has "hundreds of canvassers" like Silvio Zammit, the man who is alleged to have asked Swedish Match for €60 million to repeal the snus ban.
Silvio Zammit is a canvasser like many hundreds of canvassers that I have. That is the relationship with him. And with him I have the contact I have with other canvassers. When they need something and when they have some friend who needs something. It’s the usual political game in Malta.
However, Dalli seems to think that these hundreds of people are well-intentioned volunteers who arrange appointments between interest groups and the EU Health Commissioner out of the goodness of their hearts.
You described a money offer by the snus lobby to Mr Zammit for a meeting as a bribe.
That is what it is.
Wouldn’t these middlemen be demanding money for these services? Would they be doing it voluntarily?
I would not be such an evil mind as to think that for someone to set up a meeting he would take money. All I say is that it usually is a feeling of importance (that these canvassers seek).
So you think that money is not traded in these circumstances.
No. I mean that as far as I am concerned, whenever anybody held any meeting with me, money was never an issue. I don’t know of any instance or any sniff of a possibility that money was an issue.
That these people would make themselves available to these companies for a fee.
I am not fostering anything. People ask me to meet people as other Commissioners do, and this is, if you ask me, why they were up in arms because everybody does this. Everybody meets people in the Commission and so they should.
Dumb or just playing dumb? You decide.