Conservative Roberta Metsola is the new President of the European Parliament

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Roberta Metsola after her election as President of the European Parliament © Philipp von Ditfurth / dpa

The conservative Roberta Metsola is the new President of the European Parliament.

Strasbourg – The 43-year-old from Malta was elected by parliamentarians in Strasbourg with an absolute majority of 458 out of 616 votes in the first ballot on Tuesday. The youngest President of the EU Parliament to date succeeds the Italian David Sassoli, who died unexpectedly last week.

“I’m a woman from a small island in the middle of southern Europe. I know what it means to be an outsider,” said Metsola in her application speech to parliamentarians in Strasbourg.

Metsola, who celebrated her 43rd birthday on Tuesday, is not only the youngest President of the European Parliament, but also only the third woman to head the parliament. “It won’t be another two decades before a woman is at the head of parliament again,” Metsola promised militantly after her election.

The doctor of law has been a member of the EU parliament for the Maltese Nationalist Party, which belongs to the conservative EPP Group, since 2013. In 2020, the politician took over the post of the first of 14 vice presidents in the European Parliament.

The mother of four describes herself as a progressive advocate for LGBTQ and women’s rights. However, she is also controversial because of her negative attitude to abortions among parliamentarians.

Abortion is illegal in predominantly Catholic Malta – the smallest country in the EU. Metsola voted in June against a report calling on all member states to offer safe access to abortions.

But thanks to an agreement between the two major factions in the EU Parliament, the EPP and the Social Democrats, Metsola’s election as Parliament Speaker was a sure thing. Even before Sassoli’s death, the election for the presidency of the EU Parliament had been scheduled for the coming week. Sassoli’s term expired this month after two and a half years. Metsola was elected for two and a half years until mid-2024.

In addition to Metsola, the Green MEP Alice Bah Kuhnke from Sweden and the Left MEP Sira Rego from Spain. Polish MP Kosma Zlotowski from the EU-sceptical, national-conservative group in the European Parliament withdrew his application at short notice.


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