Bruxelles, 18 Jan 2022 – “I will always stand up for this house and for Europe”. Roberta Metsola, 43 years old from Malta, Conservative (EPP group), is the third woman elected head of the EU Parliament. Her ‘promotion’ is not surprise as former vice president of David Sassoli Socialist Democrat (S&D), since 2020.
In a general mood still shaken by the unexpected death of Sassoli, Metsola reassures the anxieties of those addressing immigration agenda and Dublin reform.
“I have spent the last nine years working in the LIBE as one of the negotiator of the Migration Pact. I am proud of what we have been done in this House over the last mandate; also today we have a Pact that has been proposed by the Commission that is being very intensively negotiated in the Civil Liberties (LIBE) but also with all the shadows rapporteurs of different committees as well. But I also want to say that I am the President of this Parliament which means I will abide by the positions taken by this Parliament”, she answered to an Italian journalist who reminded her she was also elected with votes from right anti immigration Lega Nord, “so I will wait for the outcomes of those Committees – Metsola said – and I look forward to potential trialogues on those instruments because it is really important that in 2024, when we’ll face our electorate again, we would have been able to respond to the top and most foremost concerns of, if I remember correctly, almost all member states in 2019, when migration was at its foremost”.
Malta, “an honour for our small country” the President said. “I know I have big shoes to fill” she said at the start of the press conference.
The small island in the heart of south Mediterranean sea is well know for the assassination, and relative corruption inquiry involving the government, of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017. “This House is a defender of the rights and security of journalists” she stressed .
When asked about her position on abortion, which Metsola voted against as MEP, she reinstated her guarantor super partes position: “On the section of Sexual and Reproductive Health rights this Parliament has been unambiguous and repeatedly called for these rights to be better protected. Last months we underlined the access to SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) as an essential part of an achieving gender equality for eliminating gender based violence. This is the position of this House and I can confirm and commit to all of you that this is the position I’ll push forward as I have already done as vice president once I have been entrusted to be the president of this house”.
Metsola, already acting President, was elected with a wide majority of 458 of the 616 votes. She became MEP in 2013 for Malta’s Nationalist Party.