The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

A Father’s Day snapshot behind two of Malta’s female MEPs

Dayna Clarke Sunday, 16 June 2019, 08:30 Last update: about 2 months ago

From Angela Merkel to Christine Lagarde and, until recently, Theresa May, there are many high-profile female politicians and, at a local level, Malta is not without successful women in leading roles.

With such a high profile comes an ever-increasing spotlight on the personal lives of such women: do they have children, what are their partners like, how do they juggle the demands of home and work life? Is it possible that they actually ‘have it all’?


The general assumption is that if work and life are hard enough to balance for us mere mortals, then surely the balancing act for women in prominent positions must be even more challenging.

To mark Father’s Day, The Malta Independent on Sunday caught up with the husbands of two high-profile Maltese MEPs – John Vella, the husband of Miriam Dalli, and Ukko Metsola, the husband of Roberta Metsola – for an insight into how they support their wives and, of course, if and how they will be doing on Father’s Day.


John Vella

“Father’s Day is always a good cause for celebration and more so this year: following a hectic election campaign, we will be spending the day altogether. Given Miriam’s hectic schedule – due to her work in Malta and abroad – we make sure that we spend any available time we have as a family.

“We love spending time with our kids, going out together and enjoying each other’s company. That’s what a family is. We support one another and, for us, that is the key. When Miriam is not around, I take the kids to school and help them with their homework and do other chores.

“When she is in Malta, Miriam juggles work and the needs of the family and, together, we make sure that we share everything that needs to be done. We believe in teamwork and make sure that we work together on this.”


Ukko Metsola

“Luckily, I don’t have a regular 9-to-5 job either. Both Roberta and I accept the fact that our work obligations are frequently not under our own control, including the need to travel at short notice.

“This requires the utmost flexibility, discipline, planning and an ability to deal with uncertainty. It is not a question of managing the balance – it’s a question of managing the ‘off-balance’.

“We are pretty good at it because we share a fundamental and mutual respect for our respective careers. I understand Roberta’s important role in Maltese society and I am proud of her excellent work in the European Parliament. This makes it easier to accept whatever small sacrifices and compromises we have to make in terms of having a more ‘regular’ family life.

“We share responsibility for our family, and we share the same worries for our children, who have to deal with having a parent in the public eye – and in such a prominent role – as Roberta. My oldest boys can now read what people say online, and they feel very protective about their mother, but we have tried hard to instil a sense of duty and service in our boys.

“This Father’s Day will be special because our three eldest sons will perform in a piano concert. They have already brought lovely presents for me from school, including two-year-old Kristian. With luck, we will have a noisy and chaotic family lunch together, as usual. Roberta may or may not be able to join us and I am fully prepared to handle either scenario.”


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