The Malta Independent 17 May 2022, Tuesday

TMID Editorial - Roberta Metsola: An honour for her, an honour for Malta

Wednesday, 19 January 2022, 07:29 Last update: about 5 months ago

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola was yesterday elected as President of the European Parliament, only the third woman to make it to this prestigious position. The other two were both French.

The election culminates her steady rise in the corridors of the institution, based in Brussels and Strasbourg, but which encompasses representatives from 27 European states who seek to build on the foundations of our forefathers in search of a better Europe, one that is closer to the citizen, one that upholds many principles so dear to people of goodwill.

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She will be replacing Italian David Sassoli, who passed away a few days ago, but who had already indicated that he was not seeking re-election for the second half this EP’s term, which ends in May 2024.

Metsola has the onerous task of bringing together people of different beliefs to some form of common ground, one that seeks to make Europe a better place to live in. Her task is not easy, as Europe passes through one of the most difficult times in recent history, and not only because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To say that she deserves the post is an under-statement. She has always made it clear that her focus was Europe, often dismissing attempts for her to take over the reins of the Nationalist Party. Each time the PN leadership is in question – when first Lawrence Gonzi resigned, and then Simon Busuttil quit and, more recently, when Adrian Delia was ousted – the first name that came to the minds of many was Roberta Metsola.

But she resisted the temptation, each and every time, and concentrated on building her own reputation, ultimately receiving her reward with yesterday’s election. At least for the time being, the PN can forget about her wanting to return to take on a political role in Malta. She has widened her horizons, and it will now become even harder for her to sever that link.

She did not forget Malta. Her strong voice on matters of rule of law and good governance – and a myriad others, in particular migration – earned her both accolades and insults. She was often even labelled as a traitor to the country, and it was positive to note that Prime Minister Robert Abela wants bygones to be bygones as Metsola takes over her new role.

Over the past years Malta has been in the international news for the wrong reasons, and Metsola’s election is therefore a welcome breath of fresh air. It is a great honour for her, and a great honour for the country. Malta is one of the youngest members of the EU, and there are many countries with a longer history and a much bigger representation at the EP which have never reached so high.

Before her, the EP had 16 presidents, coming from only 8 countries. Malta is now the ninth EU member to occupy such a position.

For Metsola to make it to EP President, given Malta’s size, was a hard job. But the most difficult part started yesterday. After the applauses and congratulations, she will have to settle down quickly to carry out her tasks.

We are sure she will be up to it.

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