Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 November, 2021 at 8:13 pm by Andre Camilleri
Roberta Metsola has won the election to become the EPP’s candidate for the post of President of European Parliament with a big majority.
The Maltese MEP obtained 112 votes (64.4%), with the other two candidates, Ester de Lange and Othmar Karas trailing behind with 44 and 18 votes respectively.
174 of the 178 EPP MEPs cast their vote.
Metsola currently serves as First Vice-President of the EU Parliament.
The EPP Group meeting started at 6pm, with the three candidates making presentations about their candidacies. While more than one round of voting was initially expected, Metsola managed to secure enough votes to win in the first round.
The election for a new President of the European Parliament will be held in January, where MEPs will be asked to vote for the candidates put forward by the different political groups.
Immediately after the vote, Metsola said: “I am honoured to have been given a strong mandate by the EPP Group to be its candidate for President of the European Parliament. The second half of this legislature will be critical for Europe – I will work hard to keep building bridges in this House as we work together in pushing forward important legislative files and bringing decision-making closer to people in every Member State.”
Building bridges and alliances
Addressing a press conference later, Metsola said the coming two and a half years will be the “most critical for the European Parliament as we emerge from a pandemic.”
She said she would like to see the “constructive forces of this House” come together to “build higher and restore the role of the EP.”
“I want us to create alliances and build bridges with constructive pro-EU forces in this house, to emerge stronger in all aspects, including the decisions we take and the image we give to the rest of the world.”
Metsola said she looks forward to a Parliament that reopens with a very open and accessible debate, and to discuss on how to approach the 2024 elections “with a strong parliament and a strong voice, and to encourage as many people as possible to vote in those elections.”
She hoped that the EU will be “truly a leader in the world.”
Metsola said she hoped to work with the different political groups to ensure that the next president has the backing of a majority of MEPs. She said she hopes that she will be able to serve in that role.
EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber MEP congratulated Metsola and thanked the other EPP Group candidates who ran in the elections.
“Roberta Metsola is a well-respected, extremely dedicated and competent Member of this Parliament who has shown her leadership on many occasions since joining the European Parliament in 2013. Her expertise, experience as Group Coordinator and Parliament’s Vice-President, and her ability to bring MEPs from different parties and countries together will be an asset for our institution, at a time when this is needed more than ever. She will be the face of a strong, modern and more visible Parliament that will make us proud. And, yes, we also think it is high time that the next President of the European Parliament is a woman!”, stressed Weber.
Weber also confirmed the EPP Group’s commitment to the agreement between political groups in the European Parliament of 3 July 2019 that the President of the Parliament in the 2nd half of the term should come from the ranks of the EPP Group.
“As the EPP Group respected the deal in 2019 and voted for David Sassoli without proposing a candidate of our own, we call on the S&D to honour the agreement in the same spirit of loyal cooperation. The European Parliament can be strong and deliver for our citizens ahead of the 2024 elections if the pro-European forces are united.”
Weber said that Metsola is not only the first candidate proposed by the EPP who was not from one of the big countries but also the first female candidate and, if elected, she would also be the youngest European Parliament President.
“These factors show that Roberta was elected for her strong qualities and not her countries influence. I am confident that she will be elected as Metsola is a strong and convincing candidate to lead this institution,” Weber said.
She reached the top – Bernard Grech
Among the first to congratulate Metsola was Opposition Leader Bernard Grech, who said the MEP “has once again made us proud to be Maltese.”
Metsola, he said, has made a name for herself and for the country by defending the European values of liberty, truth and justice. Today’s vote is an honour for her, for Malta and for the PN, which has always had faith in the abilities of the Maltese people, he said.
Grech said the PN had strived to see Malta join the EU, to give opportunities to our people and to live moments like this one, “where one of us has reached the top.”