After a vote in the European parliament, former Maltese foreign minister Tonio Borg was appointed the European Union's new health commissioner.
European lawmakers approved his nomination by 386 votes in favour, 281 against, to replace fellow countryman John Dalli, who resigned last month after being cited in a tobacco-linked influence-peddling probe.
The nomination will be finalised by the European Council "in the coming days", the European Parliament said in statement while the European Commission said that Borg could begin work immediately.
Borg, who is a well-known Catholic conservative, was put up by Malta to replace Dalli but there were questions as to his suitability over statements he had made in the past on abortion and gay marriage.
He was grilled by MEPs last week and when queried over women's rights, said that while he "would not abandon his personal views" he would respect the treaties.
"We welcome the positive result of today's vote on the nomination of Tonio Borg as the new European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy," said Joseph Daul MEP, chairman of the conservative EPP parliamentary group.
"We put our trust in his commitment to be at the service of European citizens."
Borg said he had personally supported a bill in Malta to recognise non-marital relationships, whether heterosexual or homosexual, and pledged to back current proposals to increase the presence of women on boards.
Borg has promised an "ambitious" new proposal on tobacco legislation, the task that proved his predecessor's undoing, for January.