Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola.
Maltese Member of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola has been appointed the European People's Party (EPP) rapporteur on anti-discrimination and the fight against homophobia.
Metsola said that she is committed to use her platform in the European Parliament to tackle all forms of discrimination, adding that homophobia and violence are still common place across Europe and more has to be done to eradicate it once and for all.
As the EPP rapporteur on the European Parliament's report on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, Metsola is meeting with civil society in Malta and with European NGOs in order to listen to their views on what they would like to see in the Roadmap.
She said it was troubling that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has stated that one in four people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex (LGBTI) have been threatened or physically attacked in the past five years. The same report quotes a Maltese national saying that he considered 'being bullied at school' as the worst form of homophobic abuse he has ever been subjected to.
"It is time for a new chapter in this area. In Malta we have some way to go but we are moving forward. We have enacted hate crime legislation and last June PN MP Claudette Buttigieg presented a private members bill to amend Malta's Constitution through the inclusion of protection from discrimination of persons of different sexual orientation," Metsola said.
"This is one area where we should put partisan differences aside and come together to make clear that homophobic prejudice, bullying and discrimination are simply unacceptable. The Malta Gay Rights Movement has spoken of its hope that Maltese politicians speak out against prejudice and make clear public commitments to LGBT equality. Here is mine. I will not turn my back on LGBT persons."
Metsola said that more must be done to tackle bullying, abuse and discrimination.
"We must take full advantage of this moment and come up with a roadmap that works and that takes everyone's opinion into consideration."