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Roberta Metsola
President of the European Parliament
Assumed office
18 January 2022
Acting: 11 January 2022 – 18 January 2022
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 43)
Saint Julian's, Malta
CitizenshipMaltese
Political partyNationalist Party
Other political
affiliations
European People's Party
Spouse(s)
Ukko Metsola
(m. 2005)
Children4
EducationUniversity of Malta
College of Europe
Video Introduction (English) / (Maltese)
Video Introduction (English) / (Maltese)

Roberta Metsola Tedesco Triccas (Maltese pronunciation: [rɔˈbɛrta ˈmɛtsɔla]; born 18 January 1979) is a Maltese politician 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, representing Malta, and became the First Vice-President of the European Parliament in November 2020.[3] 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 woman President since 2002.[5]

Education and career

Metsola is a lawyer and has specialised in European law and politics at the College of Europe. She served as Malta's Legal and Judicial Cooperation Attaché within the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union.[6] and, from 2012 to 2013 as legal advisor to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.[7]

Political career

Early beginnings

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In her student years, Metsola 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] In 2002, she was elected vice-president of the Youth Convention on the Future of Europe which paved the way to her being closely involved in the negotiation and drafting of the European Constitutional Treaty and, later, the Lisbon Treaty.[citation needed]

Metsola has been active within the Partit Nazzjonalista in Malta since youth,[citation needed] serving within the party's international secretariat;[citation needed] actively campaigning for a "Yes" vote in the 2003 EU membership referendum,[citation needed] and volunteering with the PN's election arm ELCOM.[citation needed] She ran for the European Parliament elections in 2004[citation needed] and the 2009 European Parliament as a Nationalist candidate in Malta.[citation needed] She was not elected in either of these elections.[citation needed]

Member of the European Parliament, 2013–2022

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

Metsola successfully contested the casual election to fill in the vacated seat of Simon Busuttil on 24 April 2013, becoming one of Malta's first female Members of the European Parliament.[8] In the Parliament, she sits as a member of the European People's Party Group (EPP).[9]

Following her re-election to the Parliament for a full term in 2014, Metsola was elected as a vice-chair of the Committee on Petitions (PETI) in July 2014.[10] In addition, she served as a member of a number of committees and delegations including the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and the Delegation for relations with the United States.[11] 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.[11] Within LIBE, she has been part of the Rule of Law Monitoring Group (ROLMG) since 2018.[12]

In addition to her committee assignments, Metsola joined the European Parliament Intergroup on Children's Rights.[13]

In November 2020, Metsola was elected as First Vice-President of the European Parliament, replacing Mairead McGuinness who became Ireland's European Commissioner. She is the first Maltese MEP to become a Vice-President.[14]

In November 2021, Metsola was chosen by the EPP as their candidate to succeed David Sassoli as President of the European Parliament on the expiry of his term as President in January 2022.[15] Sassoli had been hospitalised with pneumonia in September 2021[16] and in December announced that he would not seek a second term as President, making Metsola his likely successor.[17] Following further hospitalisation, Sassoli died on 11 January 2022,[18] one week before the the end of his term.[16] On Sassoli's death, Metsola became the acting President of the European Parliament.[19]

President of the European Parliament

Metsola addresses the European Parliament at her election in January 2022
Metsola addresses the European Parliament at her election in January 2022

On 18 January 2022, 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 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 Parliament's term.[20] 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]

Other activities

Political positions

In her capacity as member of LIBE, Metsola led the EPP's work on the non-binding "EU roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity" in 2014.[23] She co-authored a non-binding report on the European migrant crisis in 2016, aimed at establish 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]

In respect of abortion, Metsola has consistently voted for pro-life resolutions.[25] On her election as President of the European Parliament, she stated that during her tenure, she will represent the Parliament's position, which recognises safe access to abortion as a human right.[26]

Controversies

In October 2020, Metsola proposed amendments to a resolution by LIBE on Bulgaria that sparked controversy.[27][28] She insisted that the document include information about protests in Bulgaria being funded by a gambling boss with 18 charges raised against him. After hundreds of protesters contacted her on social media and she was threatened with lawsuit over slander and spread of "Fake news", Metsola blocked access to her social media from Bulgaria [29] and withdrew the proposed amendment.[citation needed]

Personal life

Roberta Metsola was born in Saint Julian's, Malta, and grew up in Gzira.[30]

Roberta and her Finnish husband Ukko Metsola (National Coalition Party) 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.[31] They first met in 1999 and married in October 2005.[32] Together, they have four sons.[33]

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. 2022-01-18. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  3. ^ "Roberta Metsola elected as First Vice-President of the European Parliament | News | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 2020-12-11. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  4. ^ a b "Malta's Roberta Metsola elected EU Parliament's third woman president". France 24. 2022-01-18. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  5. ^ a b "Roberta Metsola elected European Parliament president in landslide victory". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  6. ^ a b "European Parliament candidate Roberta Metsola Tedesco Triccas". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Roberta Metsola cements rise to European Parliament presidency". POLITICO. 2022-01-17. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  8. ^ "Update 3 - Three women elected to the European Parliament".
  9. ^ "Roberta METSOLA | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  10. ^ Dave Keating (July 7, 2014), EFDD loses out as groups share the spoils European Voice.
  11. ^ a b "8th parliamentary term | Roberta METSOLA | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  12. ^ Rule of law: Civil Liberties MEPs to report on corruption and press freedom European Parliament, press release of June 5, 2018.
  13. ^ Members of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights European Parliament.
  14. ^ "Roberta Metsola elected as First Vice-President of the European Parliament | News | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 2020-12-11. Retrieved 2021-10-24.
  15. ^ "EPP taps Roberta Metsola to run for Parliament presidency". POLITICO. 2021-11-24. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  16. ^ a b "EU parliament president David Sassoli dies in Italian hospital". France 24. 2022-01-11. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  17. ^ "David Sassoli won't seek second term as EU Parliament president". POLITICO. 2021-12-14. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  18. ^ "European Parliament President David Sassoli dies aged 65". POLITICO. 2022-01-11. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  19. ^ "EU flags at half-mast after death of parliament speaker Sassoli". France 24. 2022-01-11. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  20. ^ "Brussels Playbook: Metsola for president — Russia sanctions latest — Zemmour hate crimes". POLITICO. 2022-01-18. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  21. ^ Executive Board Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies.
  22. ^ Friends of Europe appoints 29 new members to its Board of Trustees Friends of Europe, press release of June 25, 2020.
  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. ^ The Malta Independent (October 21, 2013)
  26. ^ Lory, Gregoire (2022-01-18). "Metsola on abortion: 'My position is the EU Parliament's position'". euronews. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  27. ^ "European Parliament to Vote on Amednments to Draft Resolution on Rule of Law in Bulgaria". 2020-10-07. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  28. ^ "Евродепутатката от ЕНП Роберта Мацола е изтеглила предложенията си за промени в резолюцията" [MEP from EPP Roberta Metsola withrew the proposed amendments to the resolution] (in Bulgarian). 2020-10-07. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  29. ^ "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). 2020-10-08. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  30. ^ Roberta Metsola On-Line: https://robertametsola.eu/roberta/ Retrieved : 18 Jan 2022
  31. ^ "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.
  32. ^ "Two seats, two kids and one marriage". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  33. ^ "MEP Roberta Metsola Welcomes Fourth Son". Our Wedding. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
Political offices Preceded byDavid Sassoli President of the European Parliament 2022–present Incumbent