Roberta Metsola
Roberta-Metsola-Malta-MIP-Europaparlament-by-Leila-Paul-1.jpg
Metsola in 2014
President of the European Parliament
Assumed office
18 January 2022
Acting: 11 January 2022 – 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 43)
St. Julian's, Malta
Political partyNationalist Party
Other political
affiliations
European People's Party
Spouse(s)
Ukko Metsola
(m. 2005)
Children4
Alma materUniversity of Malta
College of Europe
Video Introduction (English) / (Maltese)

Roberta Metsola (Maltese pronunciation: [ɹɔˈbɝta ˈmɛtsɔla]; née Tedesco Triccas; 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, and became the First Vice-President of the European Parliament in November 2020.[3] Following the death of the in office 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 Roberta 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, and she 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]

Roberta Tedesco Triccas and her Finnish husband Ukko Metsola (National Coalition Party) met in 1999 and married in Rabat, Malta on October 1, 2005.[11] Together, they have four sons: Luca Matias (born 2007), Alec Emil (born 2008), Marc (born 2012) and Kristian (born 2016).[12] 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.[13]

Metsola has been active since youth within Malta's Partit Nazzjonalista (PN), serving within the party's international secretariat and volunteering with the PN's election arm ELCOM.[14][6] 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][14]

In 2002, at 23 years, she was elected as one of the two vice-presidents of the executive board of the Youth Convention on the Future of Europe,[15] and the following year she actively campaigned with the PN for a Yes vote in the 2003 EU membership referendum.[10]

Following her engagement in the EU referendum campaign, 25-year-old Metsola was encouraged by Malta's Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi[6] to run for the 2004 European elections as a candidate for the Nationalist Party.[9] She was not elected.

In October 2004 Metsola joined the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union in Brussels, headed by Richard Cachia Caruana, where she worked for 8 years as legal and judicial cooperation attaché, also participating for Malta in the negotiations of the Lisbon Treaty and working on files such as the set-up of the European Asylum Support Office in Malta.[10][14]

She ran again for the 2009 European elections,[16] without being elected.[17]

In 2013-2014 Metsola briefly served as legal advisor to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.[18]

Member of the European Parliament

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

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.[19] In the Parliament, she sits as a member of the European People's Party Group (EPP).[20]

Following her re-election at the 2014 elections, Metsola was elected as a vice-chair of the Committee on Petitions (PETI) in July 2014.[21] In addition, she served as a member of a number of committees and delegations.[22] She also joined the parliamentary intergroup on children's rights.[23] Metsola was further re-elected at the 2019 elections; in this legislature she has followed closely the party line, voting together with the EPP delegation in over 90% of the cases.[18]

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 Green MEP Ulrike Lunacek.[24] She was also 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.[25]

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.[22]

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.[26]

In 2019, during the controversies following the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, she famously refused to shake hands with Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at a meeting with the Members of European Parliament from Malta. "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", she wrote.[10] In 2020 Metsola considered contesting the leadership of Partit Nazzjonalista, but finally decided against it. "Some ceilings need a few more cracks before they can be smashed through", she stated. 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",[27][28] Metsola tabled amendments[29] 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 Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. Other amendments, which she later withdrew, also alleged that a gambling boss had been financing the street protest movement. This caused outrage in Bulgaria, leading to Metsola's social media accounts being flooded by protest messages, including threats and misogyny.[30][31] The EPP amendments were finally defeated, and the resolution was adopted as it had been originally proposed.[32]

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.[33]

President of the European Parliament

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.[34] Sassoli had been hospitalised with pneumonia in September 2021[35] and in December announced that he would not seek a second term as president, making Metsola his likely successor.[36] Following further hospitalisation, Sassoli died on 11 January 2022,[37] one week before the end of his term.[35] On Sassoli's death, Metsola became the acting President of the European Parliament.[38]

Metsola in the European Parliament during her election in January 2022
Metsola in the European Parliament during her election in January 2022

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 Parliament's term.[39] 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]

Anti-abortion views

Metsola had consistently voted for pro-life resolutions,[40] and 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.[41] She once said in a 2015 statement that she was "categorically against abortion."[42] 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.[43]

Metsola has called for strengthening the powers of the European Parliament.[44]

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. 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 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. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  12. ^ "MEP Roberta Metsola Welcomes Fourth Son". Our Wedding. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ a b c "European Parliament candidate Roberta Metsola Tedesco Triccas". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009.
  15. ^ Times of Malta, 12 July 2002; Politico.eu, 30 Oct 2002; europarl, 2 July 2002
  16. ^ Malta Independent, 30 Nov 2008
  17. ^ Times of Malta, 8 June 2009
  18. ^ a b "Roberta Metsola cements rise to European Parliament presidency". POLITICO. 2022-01-17. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  19. ^ "Update 3 - Three women elected to the European Parliament".
  20. ^ "Roberta METSOLA | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 2022-01-11.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ Dave Keating (July 7, 2014), EFDD loses out as groups share the spoils European Voice.
  22. ^ a b "8th parliamentary term | Roberta METSOLA | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  23. ^ Members of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights European Parliament.
  24. ^ Dave Keating (February 4, 2014), "'Manif pour tous' fails to defeat EU gay rights report" European Voice.
  25. ^ Maïa de La Baume (March 16, 2016), European Parliament ‘fixes’ the refugee crisis Politico Europe.
  26. ^ Rule of law: Civil Liberties MEPs to report on corruption and press freedom European Parliament, press release of June 5, 2018.
  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. ^ 5.10.2020 B9-0309/34, Amendment 34, Roberta Metsola on behalf of the PPE Group
  30. ^ Times of Malta, 8 oct 2020; Newsbook, 8 oct 2020; Malta Today, 8 Oct 2020;
  31. ^ "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.
  32. ^ EurActiv, 9 Oct 2020; Malta Independent, 9 Oct 2020
  33. ^ "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.
  34. ^ "EPP taps Roberta Metsola to run for Parliament presidency". POLITICO. 2021-11-24. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  35. ^ a b "EU parliament president David Sassoli dies in Italian hospital". France 24. 2022-01-11. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  36. ^ "David Sassoli won't seek second term as EU Parliament president". POLITICO. 2021-12-14. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  37. ^ "European Parliament President David Sassoli dies aged 65". POLITICO. 2022-01-11. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  38. ^ "EU flags at half-mast after death of parliament speaker Sassoli". France 24. 2022-01-11. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  39. ^ "Brussels Playbook: Metsola for president — Russia sanctions latest — Zemmour hate crimes". POLITICO. 2022-01-18. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  40. ^ The Malta Independent (October 21, 2013)
  41. ^ Rob Picheta, James Frater, Sharon Braithwaite and Amy Cassidy. "The European Parliament's new President immediately faced questions on her views on abortion". CNN. Retrieved 2022-01-19.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  42. ^ "Abortion remains a red-line say PN MEPs". www.eppgroup.eu. Retrieved 2022-01-19.
  43. ^ Lory, Gregoire (2022-01-18). "Metsola on abortion: 'My position is the EU Parliament's position'". euronews. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  44. ^ Casert, Raf (18 January 2022). "Malta legislator becomes 3rd female EU Parliament president". Associated Press. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  45. ^ Executive Board Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies.
  46. ^ Friends of Europe appoints 29 new members to its Board of Trustees Friends of Europe, press release of June 25, 2020.
  47. ^ "Zelenskyy bestows Ukrainian award on Roberta Metsola". Times of Malta. 5 April 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
Political offices Preceded byDavid Sassoli President of the European Parliament 2022–present Incumbent