Roberta Metsola, a long-serving Member of the European Parliament on behalf of the Malta Nationalist party has been elected as the president of this institution. Her successful candidature makes her the youngest ever to hold this role and the first woman following twenty years.
Her election as president of the European Parliament comes at a time where Malta has faced several reputational issues as a jurisdiction. The past events have cast a poor light on Malta’s politicians due to the alleged cases of corruption, the assassination of a journalist where a political office is allegedly implicated and the recent greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force. The appointment of a Maltese politician in such a high-ranking position within the European Parliament is definitely a welcome development.
Roberta Metsola takes over the role following the death of the former president David Sassoli at the age of sixty-five. This puts Roberta Metsola as one of three women within the top jobs in the EU. She accompanies the heads of the European Commission and Central Bank.
In terms of her profile as a politician, she has a stand of being against abortion and in favour of LGBT rights. She has been criticised by other politicians within the European Parliament due to her stance against abortion. One must consider that Roberta Metsola represents the conservative party in Malta and that abortion is not legal within the country.
When asked about her position following the election success, she emphasised that she will represent the views of the European Parliament when discussing sexual and reproductive health.
Following the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, she had spoken out against corruption in Malta, favouring the strengthening of the rule of law. She worked to enable more protection from the European Union against corruption and criminality.
Her stand in the European Parliament did come with its own difficulties. Within Malta, a number of people expressed their frustration at the way she spoke about the situation in the country. Some even went as far to label her a traitor to the country, emphasising that she was not acting in Malta’s best interests.
One can define the result of the election as a landslide victory for Roberta Metsola. This bodes well for her career, as it indicates that her capabilities and credentials are perceived positively.
Her victory translates to positive news for Malta and also serves to encourage women in their careers, providing hope that the glass ceiling is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.