The Malta Independent 24 January 2022, Monday

TMIS Editorial - Metsola: The right person for the job

Sunday, 28 November 2021, 11:15 Last update: about 3 months ago

After years of being shamed across the world with scandal over scandal, Malta was in the news for the right reasons this week when Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola was chosen as the EPP candidate for the post of President of the European Parliament.

With an overwhelming majority vote, Metsola moved one step closer to clinching the prestigious role – one which no Maltese person has ever held before.

She is not there yet, as the final vote will be taken in January, but Metsola stands a very good chance of being elected to the European Parliament’s top seat.

Metsola has sometimes been criticised for failing to contest the PN leadership in times when the party was going through troubled times, and perhaps she refrained from doing so because she had higher ambitions.

But perhaps the right place for the young MEP is in Europe, after all, where she has always made a good name for herself and proved to be a worthy representative of the Maltese people.

Metsola has had a very successful run at the European Parliament, and currently serves as First Vice President of the EP. She has worked on several important issues that affect Malta and Europe in general, like migration and, more recently, an anti-SLAPP directive.

The MEP takes her role very seriously and we can vouch for this, given that she personally sought feedback from Maltese newsrooms when working on fighting this very serious threat to journalism.

It’s such a shame that Prime Minister Robert Abela has not yet reacted to the news, and that neither the Labour Party nor its media have even acknowledged this very important development.

The Labour Party clearly doesn’t like Metsola very much. It doesn’t like the other Nationalist MEP, David Casa, either, and it definitely doesn’t like Simon Busuttil.

Like Metsola, Casa and Busuttil have been entrusted with important EU roles – Casa as qaestor of the EP, a role which he has nobly given up to allow Metsola to run for President, and Busuttil as Secretary General of the European People’s Party – the largest political group in the EP. This is a far cry from Joseph Muscat’s European ambitions, which ended up in nothing but a shattered dream.

The Nationalist politicians have been branded as “traitors” for speaking against corruption and raising the issue at a European level.

But one must keep in mind that it was their efforts that led to the international community pressuring Malta to up its game and take a different route.

While civil society played a very important role in bringing down the corrupt previous administration, the pressure mounted on Malta by international organisations such as the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and others was vital in forcing Malta to carry out much-needed reforms in good governance.

Indeed, Metsola herself was part of a European Parliament delegation that visited Malta during the political crisis. This was when she famously refused to shake Muscat’s hand after a meeting held at Castille, in what was a symbolic gesture against corruption.

Her abilities and the high standards she has always shown have paid off, and she could soon be in a position to steer change not just for Malta but for the entire European bloc.

Indeed, in her first comments after securing the EPP nomination, Metsola spoke of how she wants to see alliances forged in the EP for the good of the European citizens and to bring  the decision-making process closer to people in every Member State."

Proving herself to be a true believer in the EU dream, Metsola said she wants to see Europeans be given a stronger voice in the EP, and to bolster support for the EU, including by encouraging more people to vote in the next round of EP elections.

It will not be an easy task given the current political situation in some Member States, and also in a scenario where the Covid-19 pandemic is rearing its head again, but we are sure that Metsola will be up to the task that is very likely to be entrusted to her, that she will make Malta proud, and that she will play an important part in restoring our nation’s battered reputation.

 

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