[WATCH] Metsola on leading the PN: ‘I will not speculate… I am a candidate like anybody else’

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola will not speculate on what happens after June when asked whether she wants to lead the PN, says she is 'saddened' by developments in Vitals scandal

EP President Roberta Metsola interview in Kyiv after a short visit to mark Europe Day (Photo: MaltaToday)
EP President Roberta Metsola interview in Kyiv after a short visit to mark Europe Day (Photo: MaltaToday)

Roberta Metsola will not sway either way when asked whether she intends captaining the Nationalist Party in the next general election. 

“I will not speculate on what happens after 8 June. I am a PN candidate. It has been a privilege to be an MEP for 11 years. I am a candidate like anybody else,” the European Parliament president said. 

She was being interviewed in Kyiv during a short visit to Ukraine to mark Europe Day. 

Metsola said her job was to convince people to go out and vote on 8 June. “I will take it step by step and never speculate,” she added, avoiding a definitive answer and insisting the party is led by Bernard Grech and had a good team of candidates for the MEP election. 

Metsola said she was “saddened” by the developments in the Vitals scandal, which saw former prime minister Joseph Muscat and several others face criminal charges. 

She criticised Prime Minister Robert Abela over his reaction to the inquiry conclusions and the subsequent charges filed against the individuals. 

“The Prime Minister is not showing leadership and instead is attacking the judiciary and journalists. I do not want to have a Prime Minister who calls our judiciary terrorists. The minimum we expect from a prime minister in a democratic country is to guide the country out of this crisis,” she said. 

The Prime Minister is not showing leadership and instead is attacking the judiciary and journalists Roberta Metsola

Metsola reflected on the different emotions the Vitals case has inspired. “There are some who feel vindicated by what has happened but there are people who voted for the Labour Party because they believed in a different political system and today feel betrayed… it is my job as a politician to work to ensure that people feel they are protected irrespective of who they are.” 

Metsola insisted that everybody should feel that justice can be achieved irrespective of who the people accused of wrongdoing are. “Nobody should be above the law,” she said. 

Talking about her role as president, Metsola said Malta’s small size should not be viewed as a limitation. Her two-and-a-half-year term as European Parliament president comes to an end on 8 June but she is touted as being a favourite to be given another mandate in the new parliament. 

“Since I was elected president I have noticed in the Maltese people I meet, a sense of pride because a fellow Maltese has achieved so much… Malta’s small size should not limit how big we dream, or how far we go and I see this attitude in every Maltese person I meet,” she said. 

Metsola reminisced on the 20 years since Malta joined the EU, adding that every individual has their own personal story to tell. “I meet people who obtained EU funds to improve their business and others who speak of the excessive burden from EU regulations; I meet people, each with their own story that is either good or bad and this beyond the political tribalism of red and blue, which I wish would end one day.” 

Metsola added that Malta’s electoral system means that politicians have to be close to their constituents. Each person knows who they are voting for, or who they do not want to vote for, she added. “The contact between constituents and politicians is tangible and this is very important.” 

Asked about the impression some hold that she is elitist, Metsola smiled. “I was born and bred in Gżira in a family that valued education as a tool to achieve your full potential; people who know me, know I am not elitist.”

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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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