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Roberta Metsola: The European Parliament’s new President immediately faced questions on her views on abortion

Metsola, who was voted into the put up on her forty third birthday, had served because the Parliament’s vice-president since 2020 and was elected comfortably in Tuesday’s management vote, profitable the help of 458 of the group’s 705 MEPs.

She is the third girl to guide the Parliament, however has drawn early criticism over her opposition to abortion — a process that’s authorized, if restricted, in each EU nation besides her personal nation of Malta. Reproductive rights have change into a central concern on the continent since Poland launched a near-total ban on terminations final 12 months.
Although the function of President is basically ceremonial, Metsola takes cost of the bloc at a essential time. She will search to include fractures among the many group’s MEPs, whereas it additionally offers with the Russian army buildup close to to the Ukrainian border, a sophisticated commerce relationship with China and rising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I will stand against anybody who wants to destroy the European project,” Metsola mentioned on the first information convention following her victory, as she additionally batted again repeated questions over her place on abortion.

While she has advocated for LGBT rights as a part of the center-right EPP group — the most important political occasion within the European Parliament — her observe file of voting in opposition to abortion laws has drawn criticism from progressive members.
In 2015, she mentioned in a joint assertion that she and two different Maltese MEPs “remain categorically against abortion” and referred to as the process a “red line.” The lawmakers voted down a non-legislative report on gender equality as a consequence of an modification which mentioned girls ought to have “ready access to abortion.”
More just lately, in June 2021, Metsola was amongst a minority of lawmakers who voted to strike down one other non-legislative report calling for common entry to secure and authorized abortion throughout the EU. On Tuesday she mentioned this transfer had “specific Maltese” context.

Her election on Tuesday drew anger from some on the Parliament’s left, with the Federation of Young European Greens writing on Twitter: “This is not progress.”

European Parliament President David Sassoli dies age 65
But Metsola instructed reporters that she is going to decide to selling the “unambiguous” place of the parliament, which has repeatedly voted up to now to help abortion rights. Last 12 months, the physique handed a decision demanding the correct to secure abortion — broadly seen as a response to restrictive legal guidelines in Poland and Malta.

Metsola is the primary girl to carry the presidency in 20 years, following seven males. The earlier chief, Sassoli, died aged 65 final week following a severe complication as a consequence of a dysfunction of his immune system.

“Your hard work & determination are an inspiration to us all. We’ll work closely together for the EU’s recovery and a green, digital & bright European future,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted after Metsola’s victory.

“My warmest congratulations to Roberta Metsola as new President of the European Parliament,” President of the European Council Charles Michel added.

“The European Parliament is the beating heart of our European democracy. Looking forward to cooperating with you, dear Roberta,” he mentioned.

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