Roberta Metsola: Maker for Malta and the EPP


Status: 01/18/2022 04:31 a.m

The EU Parliament in Strasbourg is electing the successor to ex-President Sassoli today. The EPP politician Metsola has the best chance of being in office. She is considered smart, self-confident and has already made a name for herself – not only for her country of origin, Malta.

By Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Studio Rome

Europe was right at the beginning: During her time at the university, says Roberta Metsola, she got involved in politics: “I got involved for the first time as a student on campus – where it was about a very fundamental question: Do you want that Your country joins the European Union or should your country stay outside?” You chose the side that was in favor of joining the European Union. Back in 2003, Metsola’s home country of Malta opted for the EU by a slim majority. Almost 20 years later, the former university activist could rise to one of the most important positions in the European Union.

Jorg Seisselberg
ARD-Studio Rom

For the Maltese it would be the crowning glory of a meteoric political career for the time being – and an image boost for her country, writes Maltese blogger and journalist Manuel Delia: “Malta has gotten a very bad reputation in recent years: as a country where journalists are killed and you work with money launderers”. If Metsola were elected, Delia says her presidency could show “that Malta can contribute in a positive way to the European project.”

Clarification in the Caruana Galizia murder case

Politically, Roberta Metsola is a child of the EU bubble in Brussels. After her law degree in Malta – at that time still under her maiden name Tedesco Triccas – she went to Belgium to the College of Europe, became Secretary General of the student organization of the European People’s Party and worked in the Brussels bureaucracy. In 2013, Metsola became a member of the European Parliament for her country’s Nationalist Party.

Four years later, the conservative politician was in the limelight when she demanded an uncompromising clarification in Brussels after the murder of her compatriot, the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia: “Our message today is clear: those responsible for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia those who let it happen, who tried to cover it up, must be brought to justice.” No one should go unpunished and it must be prevented “that something like this can ever happen again.”

Metsola, blogger Delia says, was close to the Caruana Galizia family and helped to advance the investigation. It has also become popular in Malta: “The European Parliament was perhaps the first international institution to get involved in the processing of the case.” Metsola has been part of many EU delegations to Malta that have exerted pressure. Ultimately, Delia says, this led to the resignation of then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Christian Democrat with both-and positions

Metsola defines herself politically as a Christian Democrat, she is considered smart and self-confident. Apart from the Caruana Galizia case, she has been involved in Brussels on the issues of migration and civil rights, among other things – happily with both/and positions: For more legal access to the EU, but for a hard line against illegal immigration; Liberal for more rights for gay, bisexual and transgender people, conservative against relaxing abortion laws.

The MEP also has Europe at home: she is married to the Finn Ukko Metsola, who was also active in the European People’s Party and now works in Brussels for a lobby organization for the cruise industry. Together they have four sons. “I try to make sure they feel Maltese as well as Finnish,” says Metsola, revealing: “In the kitchen, my husband is very good – and when he cooks, there are Finnish things.”

Should Metsola be elected in Strasbourg today, she would be the first woman to hold the highest office in the EU Parliament in 20 years – since Frenchwoman Nicole Fontaine. And: Roberta Metsola would be the youngest. The Maltese turns 43 today.

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