Roberta Metsola
Metsola in 2022
President of the European Parliament
Assumed office
18 January 2022
Acting: 11–18 January 2022
Vice PresidentOthmar Karas
Preceded byDavid Sassoli
First Vice-President of the European Parliament
In office
12 November 2020 – 18 January 2022
PresidentDavid Sassoli
Preceded byMairead McGuinness
Succeeded byOthmar Karas
Member of the European Parliament
for Malta
Assumed office
24 April 2013
Preceded bySimon Busuttil
Personal details
Born
Roberta Tedesco Triccas[1]

(1979-01-18) 18 January 1979 (age 45)
St. Julian's, Malta[citation needed]
Political partyNationalist Party
Other political
affiliations
European People's Party
Spouse
Ukko Metsola
(m. 2005)
Children4
Alma materUniversity of Malta
College of Europe

Roberta Metsola (Maltese: [ɹɔˈbɝta ˈmɛtsɔla]; née Tedesco Triccas; born 18 January 1979) is a Maltese politician. A member of Malta's Nationalist Party (PN) and the European People's Party (EPP), she has been serving as president of the European Parliament since January 2022.[2]

Metsola was first elected to as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2013, and became the First Vice-President of the European Parliament in November 2020.[3] Following the death of the incumbent president David Sassoli, Metsola was elected as president of the European Parliament on 18 January 2022,[2] becoming the youngest ever president,[4] the first Maltese person to hold the office, and the first female president since 2002.[5]

Biography

The Tedesco Triccas family stems from Swieqi,[6][7] near St. Julian's, Malta, and she grew up with her father Geoffrey (son of Emmanuel Tedesco and Helen Triccas Dimech), her mother Rita (daughter of Carmelo Bezzina and Francesca Briffa), and her two sisters, Ann and Lisa,[8] in Gżira.[9] She studied at St Joseph School in Sliema, St Aloysius' College sixth form, graduated in law from the University of Malta in 2003,[9] and obtained a diploma in European studies from the College of Europe in Bruges in 2004.[10]

Tedesco Triccas and her Finnish husband Ukko Metsola (National Coalition Party) met in 1999 and married in Rabat, Malta, on 1 October 2005.[11] Together, they have four sons: Luca Matias (born 2007), Alec Emil (born 2009), Marc (born 2011) and Kristian (born 2017). As members of the European People's Party (EPP), they both ran for the 2009 European Parliament election, becoming the first married couple to run in the same European Parliament election from two different member states.[12]

Tedesco Triccas has been active since youth within Malta's Nationalist Party (PN), serving within the party's international secretariat and volunteering with the PN's election arm ELCOM.[13][6] In her student years, she formed part of the SDM (Studenti Demokristjani Maltin), KNZ (The National Youth Council), and MŻPN (Moviment Żgħażagħ Partit Nazzjonalista), before being elected as Secretary General of the European Democrat Students (EDS), the student branch of the EPP, as well as to posts within the European Youth Forum (YFJ).[6][13]

In 2002, at the age of 23, Tedesco Triccas was elected as one of the two vice-presidents of the executive board of the Youth Convention on the Future of Europe.[14] The following year, she actively campaigned with the PN for a Yes vote in the 2003 Maltese European Union membership referendum.[10] Following her engagement in the European Union referendum campaign, the 25-year-old Tedesco Triccas was encouraged, by Malta's then prime minister Lawrence Gonzi,[6] to run for the 2004 European Parliament election in Malta as a candidate for the PN.[9] She was not elected. In October 2004, she joined the Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU in Brussels, headed by Richard Cachia Caruana, where she worked for eight years as legal and judicial cooperation attaché, also participating for Malta in the negotiations of the Lisbon Treaty and working on files like the set-up of the European Asylum Support Office in Malta.[10][13]

Metsola ran again for the 2009 European Parliament election in Malta for the PN,[15] without being elected.[16] In 2013–2014, she briefly served as legal advisor to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.[17]

Member of the European Parliament

Metsola asking a question in 2019 hearings for the Von der Leyen Commission

On 24 April 2013, Metsola successfully contested the casual election to fill the vacated seat of Simon Busuttil, becoming one of Malta's first female members of the European Parliament (MEPs).[18] In the European Parliament, she sits as a member of the European People's Party Group (EPP).[19]

Following her re-election at the 2014 European Parliament election in Malta, Metsola was elected as a vice-chair of the Committee on Petitions (PETI) in July 2014.[20] In addition, she served as a member of a number of committees and delegations.[21] She also joined the parliamentary intergroup on children's rights.[22] Metsola was further re-elected at the 2019 European Parliament election in Malta; in this legislature, she closely followed the party line, voting together with the EPP delegation in over 90% of the cases.[17]

In 2014, Metsola led the EPP representation in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) in the work on the non-binding EU roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, whose rapporteur was European Green Party MEP Ulrike Lunacek.[23] She was the parliament's rapporteur on the European Border and Coastguard Regulation in 2019 and was co-rapporteur on an anti-SLAPP report in 2021.[10] Metsola also co-authored a non-binding report on the European migrant crisis in 2016, aimed at establishing a "binding and mandatory legislative approach" on resettlement and new EU-wide readmission agreements, which should take precedence over bilateral ones between EU and non-EU countries.[24]

From 2016 until 2017, Metsola was part of the Parliament's Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA) that investigated the Panama Papers revelations and tax avoidance schemes more broadly.[21] Within LIBE, where she chaired the EPP representation between January 2017 and 2020,[10] she has been part of the Rule of Law Monitoring Group (ROLMG) since 2018.[25]

Metsola with French President Emmanuel Macron at the European Parliament on 19 January 2022

In 2019, during the controversies following the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Metsola famously refused to shake hands with Malta's then prime minister Joseph Muscat at a meeting with the MEPS from Malta. She wrote: "If he thinks he can try to brush off responsibility he is sorely mistaken. Get out now, before you do irreparable damage to the country."[10] In 2020, Metsola considered contesting the leadership of the PN but decided against it. She stated: "Some ceilings need a few more cracks before they can be smashed through." The post was later filled by Bernard Grech.[10]

In October 2020, in the discussion in LIBE on a parliamentary resolution on "the rule of law and fundamental rights in Bulgaria",[26][27] Metsola tabled amendments,[28] on behalf of the EPP, which were widely interpreted as shielding Bulgaria's EPP government from criticism, including by proposing to remove references to Venice Commission findings and to the misuse of EU funds and high-level corruption allegations directly involving the then prime minister Boyko Borisov. Other amendments, which she later withdrew, also alleged that a gambling boss had been financing the 2020–2021 Bulgarian protests. This caused outrage in Bulgaria, leading to Metsola's social media accounts being flooded by protest messages, including threats and misogyny.[29][30] The EPP amendments were finally defeated, and the resolution was adopted as it had been originally proposed.[31]

In November 2020, Metsola was elected as First Vice-President of the European Parliament, replacing Mairead McGuinness, who had become European Commissioner. She was the first Maltese MEP to become a vice-president.[32]

President of the European Parliament

Metsola speaking in a memorial ceremony for David Sassoli in the European Parliament in January 2022

In November 2021, Metsola was chosen as EPP candidate to succeed David Sassoli as president of the European Parliament on the expiry of his term as president in January 2022.[33] Sassoli had been hospitalised with pneumonia in September 2021,[34] and in December announced that he would not seek a second term as president, making Metsola his likely successor.[35] Following further hospitalisation, Sassoli died on 11 January 2022,[36] one week before the end of his term.[34] On Sassoli's death, Metsola became the acting president of the European Parliament.[37]

Metsola with Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the European Parliament on 26 January 2023

On 18 January 2022, on her 43rd birthday, Metsola was elected president of the European Parliament for a two-and-a-half-year term. She was elected in the first round of voting, receiving an absolute majority of 458 votes out of the 690 cast.[2] As the candidate of the EPP, she was also supported by the S&D and Renew Europe parliamentary groups, after the three groups reached an agreement on the election of the president and the vice-presidents and legislative priorities for the second half of the European Parliament's term.[38] On her election, Metsola became the youngest ever president,[4] the first Maltese person to hold the office, and the first woman president since 2002 and only third woman president ever.[5] She made a statement days after being present as Belgian police searched the residence of Greek MEP Eva Kaili in the widening Qatar corruption scandal at the European Parliament over alleged corruption, money laundering, and other offenses in relation to possible schemes of Qatar, Morocco, NGOs, and the FIFA World Cup.[39][40]

Metsola meets President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the European Parliament on 9 February 2023

On 21 May 2023, Metsola participated in the European Moldova National Assembly together with President of Moldova Maia Sandu. This was a massive pro-European rally in the Moldovan capital Chișinău with tens of thousands of participants. Metsola gave rally participants a message during her speech: Europa este Moldova! Moldova este Europa! ("Europe is Moldova! Moldova is Europe!").[41] Metsola has called for strengthening the powers of the European Parliament.[42]

Metsola with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the European Parliament on 20 October 2023
Metsola with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Madrid, 1 March 2024

Anti-abortion views

Metsola had consistently voted for anti-abortion resolutions.[43] From the beginning of her tenure, she faced questions over her opposition to abortion, which is legal in every EU member state, except Malta and Poland.[44] In a 2015 press release, she and fellow Maltese MEPs declared that they were "categorically against abortion".[45] On her election as president of the European Parliament, she stated that during her tenure she would represent the European Parliament's position, which recognises safe access to abortion as a human right.[46]

Other activities

Honours

References

  1. ^ Vogel, Toby (30 April 2013). "Maltese politician accused of fraud elected to European Parliament". European Voice.
  2. ^ a b c "Roberta Metsola elected new President of the European Parliament | News | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 18 January 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  3. ^ "Roberta Metsola elected as First Vice-President of the European Parliament | News | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Malta's Roberta Metsola elected EU Parliament's third woman president". France 24. 18 January 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Roberta Metsola elected European Parliament president in landslide victory". Times of Malta. 18 January 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d Malta Independent, 3 May 2004
  7. ^ " her home town, Swieqi," Times of Malta, 9 May 2004
  8. ^ Times of Malta, 18 Jan 2022
  9. ^ a b c Roberta Metsola On-Line, Retrieved : 18 Jan 2022
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Roberta Metsola: From student EU campaigner to its parliament’s president, Times of Malta, 18 Jan 2022
  11. ^ "Two seats, two kids and one marriage". Times of Malta. 25 January 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Ukko Metsola poltti tappion sikarin". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 8 June 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2021. UKKO METSOLA, 36, tavoitteli maltalaisen vaimonsa Roberta Metsolan kanssa harvinaista tuplajäsenyyttä Euroopan parlamentissa. He olivat ensimmäinen eurooppalainen aviopari, joka pyrkii samoissa vaaleissa parlamenttiin kahdesta eri jäsenmaasta.
  13. ^ a b c "European Parliament candidate Roberta Metsola Tedesco Triccas". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009.
  14. ^ Times of Malta, 12 July 2002; Politico.eu, 30 Oct 2002; europarl, 2 July 2002
  15. ^ Malta Independent, 30 Nov 2008
  16. ^ Times of Malta, 8 June 2009
  17. ^ a b "Roberta Metsola cements rise to European Parliament presidency". POLITICO. 17 January 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  18. ^ "Update 3 - Three women elected to the European Parliament". 24 April 2013.
  19. ^ "Roberta METSOLA | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 18 January 1979. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  20. ^ Dave Keating (July 7, 2014), EFDD loses out as groups share the spoils European Voice.
  21. ^ a b "8th parliamentary term | Roberta METSOLA | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 18 January 1979. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  22. ^ Members of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights European Parliament.
  23. ^ Dave Keating (February 4, 2014), "'Manif pour tous' fails to defeat EU gay rights report" European Voice.
  24. ^ Maïa de La Baume (March 16, 2016), European Parliament ‘fixes’ the refugee crisis Politico Europe.
  25. ^ Rule of law: Civil Liberties MEPs to report on corruption and press freedom European Parliament, press release of June 5, 2018.
  26. ^ "European Parliament to Vote on Amednments to Draft Resolution on Rule of Law in Bulgaria". 7 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  27. ^ "Евродепутатката от ЕНП Роберта Мацола е изтеглила предложенията си за промени в резолюцията" [MEP from EPP Roberta Metsola withdrew the proposed amendments to the resolution] (in Bulgarian). 7 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  28. ^ 5.10.2020 B9-0309/34, Amendment 34, Roberta Metsola on behalf of the PPE Group
  29. ^ Times of Malta, 8 oct 2020; Newsbook, 8 oct 2020; Malta Today, 8 Oct 2020;
  30. ^ "Роберта Мецола от ЕНП трие коментари от фейсбука си и забранява достъп до него от България" [Roberta Metsola deletes Facebook comments and blocks access from Bulgaria] (in Bulgarian). 8 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  31. ^ EurActiv, 9 Oct 2020; Malta Independent, 9 Oct 2020
  32. ^ "Roberta Metsola elected as First Vice-President of the European Parliament | News | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  33. ^ "EPP taps Roberta Metsola to run for Parliament presidency". POLITICO. 24 November 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  34. ^ a b "EU parliament president David Sassoli dies in Italian hospital". France 24. 11 January 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  35. ^ "David Sassoli won't seek second term as EU Parliament president". POLITICO. 14 December 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  36. ^ "European Parliament President David Sassoli dies aged 65". POLITICO. 11 January 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  37. ^ "EU flags at half-mast after death of parliament speaker Sassoli". France 24. 11 January 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  38. ^ "Brussels Playbook: Metsola for president — Russia sanctions latest — Zemmour hate crimes". POLITICO. 18 January 2022. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  39. ^ EuroNews. (15 December 2022). "EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola promises reforms to prevent corruption". EuroNews website Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  40. ^ Suzanne Lynch. (15 December 2022). "EU leaders try to sideline Qatar scandal — while they still can" Politico website Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  41. ^ Călugăreanu, Vitalie (21 May 2023). "Miting pro-european cu o sută de mii de oameni la Chișinău" (in Romanian). Deutsche Welle.
  42. ^ Casert, Raf (18 January 2022). "Malta legislator becomes 3rd female EU Parliament president". Associated Press. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  43. ^ The Malta Independent (October 21, 2013)
  44. ^ Rob Picheta, James Frater, Sharon Braithwaite and Amy Cassidy (18 January 2022). "The European Parliament's new President immediately faced questions on her views on abortion". CNN. Retrieved 19 January 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  45. ^ "Abortion remains a red-line say PN MEPs". EPP Group (Press release). 10 March 2015. Archived from the original on 20 December 2021. Retrieved 19 January 2022.((cite press release)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  46. ^ Lory, Gregoire (18 January 2022). "Metsola on abortion: 'My position is the EU Parliament's position'". euronews. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  47. ^ Executive Board Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies.
  48. ^ Friends of Europe appoints 29 new members to its Board of Trustees Friends of Europe, press release of June 25, 2020.
  49. ^ "Zelenskyy bestows Ukrainian award on Roberta Metsola". Times of Malta. 5 April 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  50. ^ "Svietlana Tsikhanouskaya to MEPs: support Belarusians' European aspirations | News | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 13 September 2023. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  51. ^ "Святлана Ціханоўская ўзнагародзіла прэзідэнтку Еўрапарламента Крыжам добрасуседства / Афіцыйны сайт Святланы Ціханоўскай". tsikhanouskaya.org (in Belarusian). 13 August 2023. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
Political offices Preceded byDavid Sassoli President of the European Parliament 2022–present Incumbent Academic offices Preceded byAlexander De Croo Invocation Speaker of the College of Europe 2022 Most recent