Joseph Borg (born 19 March 1952) is a Maltese politician and diplomat. Prior to taking up the post of Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs and led Malta's EU-accession negotiations.

Joe Borg
Joe Borg2.jpg
European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs
In office
22 November 2004 – 9 February 2010
PresidentJosé Manuel Barroso
Preceded byFranz Fischler
Sandra Kalniete (Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries)
Succeeded byMaria Damanaki (Maritime Affairs and Fisheries)
European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid
In office
1 May 2004 – 11 November 2004
Serving with Poul Nielson
PresidentRomano Prodi
Preceded byPoul Nielson
Succeeded byLouis Michel
Personal details
Born (1952-03-19) 19 March 1952 (age 71)
Political partyNationalist Party
Alma materAberystwyth University (UK)


He graduated Doctor of Laws in Malta in 1975 and Master of Laws in Wales in 1988.[1]

Since 1979, Borg held various academic posts at the University of Malta, mainly focusing on company law, industrial law and European law. He also held various posts as legal adviser to companies and corporate bodies in Malta and other countries.

He began his career in politics as an advisor to the Foreign Minister on European Union matters from 1989 until 1995. From 1992 until 1995 he also served as member of the board of directors of the Maltese Central Bank. He was elected to Parliament in 1995 as a member of the Nationalist Party. He later served as Parliamentary Secretary within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1998 to 1999 and was subsequently appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1999. He held this post until he was nominated Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs in 2004, upon Malta's accession to the EU.[2]

Fisheries CommissionerEdit

As European Commissioner, he has been responsible for spearheading the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy and for innovative measures in fisheries, particularly through the involvement of stakeholders and the fight against illegal fishing activities, aimed at achieving sustainability in the sector. However, European fisheries policy has been unsuccessful so far in achieving sustainability, with 91% of fisheries on course to be classified as "overfished" by 2015, by which time the EU has committed to international targets for achieving sustainability.[3]

Borg courted controversy among environmental groups by fiercely opposing the ban on the sale of Bluefin tuna, an increasingly rare fish which sells for thousands of pounds in Japan. His position on Bluefin tuna has been linked to the fact that the industry earns €100 million annually for Malta. Borg commented to the Times of Malta that "it is thanks to a lot of hard work at my level and at my staff's level that many of the proposals that are agreed by the commission took into account Maltese sensitivities".[4]

Soon after the end of his term as Fisheries Commissioner in 2010, he was appointed chairman of the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies[1] and resumed lecturing at the University of Malta.[5]


Borg is married to Isabelle with whom he has two children, Joseph and Clara.[1]

Honorary DoctoratesEdit

Borg was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Essex in July 2003.[6]


1995: author of the Malta Companies Act[5]


  1. ^ a b c "New appointment for Joe Borg". Times of Malta. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  2. ^ Spiteri Bailey, Ian (14 March 2004). "Joe Borg - the first Maltese EU Commissioner". Times of Malta. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  3. ^ Cressey, Daniel (2010). "Europe cannot keep its promises on fish stocks". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2010.27.
  4. ^ Grech, Herman. "I earned the right to be told". Times of Malta. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b Kurbalija, Jovan (31 July 2013). Persuasion, the essence of diplomacy: A publication in honor of Professor Dietrich Kappeler. Diplo Foundation. ISBN 9789993253266.
  6. ^ "Honorary Graduates - Honorary Graduates - University of Essex". Retrieved 17 May 2019.

External linksEdit

Political offices
New office Maltese European Commissioner
Succeeded by
Preceded by European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid
Served alongside: Poul Nielson
Succeeded by
Preceded byas European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs
Succeeded byas European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries