Metsola grilled on abortion in presser: ‘My position is that of the EP... for these rights to be protected’

‘My position is that of the European Parliament - it called for these rights to be protected.’

EP President Roberta Metsola
EP President Roberta Metsola

Roberta Metsola faced a grilling by foreign journalists on her abortion stances during her first press conference as president of the European Parliament.

"My position is that of the European Parliament - it’s position has been unambiquous. It’s called for these rights to be protected," she insisted when prompted on her stance. 

Metsola's anti-abortion voting tendencies became a key sticking point during her candidacy. The prospect of an “anti-abortion” female president of the European Parliament preoccupied some quarters within the French press especially, where even French president Emanuel Macron was asked for his views on Metsola’s impending election.

She always insisted that she would push the European Parliament's position on abortion, and not her personal one, as president.

"I will do what i did as vice president when I presented to the Polish senate a resolution passed on abortion law in Poland. I promoted it and presented it as the position of parliament," she said during the press conference.

Metsola began the press conference with a brief speech on David Sassoli. "He was a great European and his death weighed heavily on this House. Our thoughts remain with his family and friends."

She told the journalists present that she will try to be available for them when questions arise, adding that the House is an ardent defender of journalists. 

"I’m honoured to have been elected as president. I know I have big shoes to fill, and I will pay tribute to David and all those before him by always standing up for this House and Europe. I look forward to working with all of you."

During her speech, Metsola specifically mentioned Ukraine and Belarus and the need to strengthen security at the EU's external borders. At the press conference, she said that she mentioned the two countries specifically due to security threats at their EU borders.

"The European Parliament has been strong and consistent in saying that it will not divide us [...] We will remain very vocal and use all the tools at our disposal to send political messages and and words of solidarity," she said.

On migration, she mentioned the European Commission's recent migration pact and said that she will abide by any decisions taken by the parliament and await the outcome of the relevant committees, and possible trialogues.

"I'm proud of what we've done and now the pact is being intensely negotiated in the civil liberties committee," she pointed out.

Addressing Maltese journalists, Metsola thanked her colleague David Casa as well as her four S&D counterparts in the Maltese delegation.

"I really feel that we came together to realise what is important and good for the country," she said. 

Metsola met with Prime Minister Robert Abela in Strasbourg on Monday ahead of the election. Abela told journalists that he's looking forward to working with Roberta Metsola on a European level but also for the national interest.

"I had a very good meeting with the Prime Minister Robert Abela where we agreed to work together on issues of concern and of need to address, not only as Maltese but as Europeans."

With regards to 'traitor' accusations made to her by Labour politicians, she said she would rather look forward, not backward. 

"Today’s result is testament to that we can look forward," she said.

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The action was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this action. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the action.

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