Tag Archives: Roberta METSOLA

Metsola:”Europe is future”

Strasbourg 09.05.2022 The President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola addressed the opening speech of The State of the Union 2022 at the European University Institute in Florence.
In her speech ‘Is Europe fit for the next generation?’, she encouraged European citizens and leaders to believe, to be confident and to use this difficult moment in time as an opportunity for change.

“…In my first address as President of the European Parliament I described myself as part of the generation that sees no old and no new Europe. We are the first of the Erasmus generation, the last of the Wałęsa, Kohl and Havel generation.

“What I meant was that I am part of the Europe generation. 18 years ago on the 1st May, I was standing in Valletta with what felt like the entire country, at midnight staring across the sea in our Grand Harbour as we counted the minutes and the seconds until Malta, together with nine other countries, joined the European Union as Member States.
I still recall the feeling of unbridled possibility, hope and belief in the future. A sort of sense of homecoming, of victory in the potential of our people, of relief, of joy – feelings shared by millions across Europe.

“With war in Europe, today, it is that spirit, that sense of purpose, of enthusiasm, of a clear direction, that I want our European project to re-capture.
People in Ukraine, in Moldova and Georgia, and still in the Western Balkans, are now looking to Europe, with the same sense of belonging and hope.

“And I want people to believe as we did. And to do that we need to understand that we are not just an economic bloc, we are not just about free movement, or about abolishing roaming charges. For my generation, Europe is – as cliché as this might sound – about a shared dream. About shared values. About a shared future, about coming together.

“To us, Europe is the future. It has always been the future.
However, we cannot deny that over the last years polarisation in our societies has increased. There are still too many people who feel lost, let down and left out. At the same time many will now look to Europe and to our institutions for leadership. And we need to be able to respond, we need to be able to lead. We must counter the anti-EU narrative that takes hold so easily and so quickly: mis- and dis-information, enhanced by bots and fabricated in Russian troll factories.

“Europe is about the defence of multilateralism. The understanding that we can only face the future together…”

Stoltenberg visits Europarliament

Brussels 29.04.2022 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited the European Parliament in Brussels to meet President Roberta Metsola and the conference of presidents of the seven political groups in the Parliament. This is the first time that a NATO Secretary General has met with the group of European Parliament party leaders on Thursday, April 28.

The Secretary General praised the European Parliament for its strong support to Ukraine, and stressed that the NATO-EU partnership is vital at this critical moment for our shared security. He mentioned the unprecedented level of cooperation between the two organisations on a wide range of issues, including in the Western Balkans, on cyber, resilience and maritime security.

In a joint press point with President Metsola, the Secretary General emphasised that NATO and the EU “stand together in solidarity with Ukraine”. He welcomed the EU’s strong economic sanctions on Russia. He stated that to date, NATO Allies have pledged and provided at least US $8 billion in military support to Ukraine, and continue to step up.

Asked by reporters how quickly the process of NATO accession could go if Finland and Sweden decide to apply, the Secretary General said: “It is of course for Finland and Sweden to decide whether they would like to apply for membership in NATO or not. But if they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be welcomed with open arms to NATO. Finland and Sweden are our closest partners, they are strong, mature democracies, EU members, and we have worked with Finland and Sweden for many, many years. We know that their armed forces meet NATO standards, are interoperable with NATO forces, we train together, we exercise together, and we have also worked with Finland and Sweden in many different missions and operations. So if they apply, they will be welcomed, and I also expect the process to be quick. And that they can then join NATO after the formal process has been finalised.”

Europarl: support to Ukraine

Strasbourg 05.04.2022 President Metsola updated the house on her visit to Ukraine and appealed for more logistical, humanitarian and military support, at the opening of the session.

Updating MEPs on her visit to Ukraine and her meeting with the Verkhovna Rada and President Zelenskyy, President Metsola said it meant a great deal to those fighting in Ukraine that the European Parliament was present with them.

The atrocities committed by the Russian army in Ukraine are horrific, disgraceful and shameful, said the President, adding that the images from Bucha and Irpin underline the level of threat facing Ukraine and the global rules-based world order.

“These are war crimes perpetrated by war criminals; these coordinated acts of inhumanity cannot remain unanswered. We will hold all those responsible to account”, the President underlined. This would mean immediately adopting a new package of forceful sanctions, and targeting those who bankroll and support Putin.

Europe must speed up its policy of zero dependence on the Kremlin, and disentangle itself from Russian energy supplies, implement binding embargoes and stop indirectly funding the bombs, she urged.

President Metsola led MEPs in a minute of silence in memory of the victims of Bucha, Irpin and all victims of war, terror and violence.

Recalling the 65th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the President reminded MEPs that this established the foundations of a peaceful and prosperous union that will never allow war to be answer.

EU-Russia: Metsola calls for protesters liberation

Strasbourg 08.03.2022 President Metsola called on the Russian authorities to free all anti-invasion peaceful protesters unjustly detained, at the opening of the plenary session in Strasbourg.

As the shelling of Ukraine continues unabated and the number of civilian casualties increases, President Metsola said: “Our outrage grows with every shell that is fired, as does Ukraine’s defiance and our people’s solidarity”.

She highlighted the immense courage of those in Russia that have continued to stand up and protest against the invasion of Ukraine, despite facing jail and brutal crackdown, expressing Parliament’s solidarity with them.

Under two laws brought in on 4 March that criminalise those protesting and informing about the war in Ukraine, protesters face up to fifteen years in prison and thousands have already been jailed. “Putin will find that the truth is not easily suppressed”, she added.

On behalf of Parliament, the President called on the Russian authorities to allow freedom of expression, to stop intimidating protesters and release immediately all those unjustly detained.

MEPs express solidarity with Ukraine

Strasbourg 14.02.2022 President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola expressed MEPs’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine, at the opening of the session.

Highlighting that the plenary session will be dominated by discussions and decisions on Ukraine, President Metsola expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they continue to face uncertainty and the fear of Russian military aggression.

The defiance of the Ukrainian people protesting on the streets of Kyiv “must be matched by continued European resolve and unity” she said, adding, “the position of this house is clear – we are with Ukraine.”

Calling the Russian military build-up at Ukraine’s border “a serious threat to peace in Europe”, President Metsola underlined that whilst Parliament is urging for a de-escalation of the current tension, it stands ready to support swift, forceful and concrete action should the situation deteriorate.

“We owe a strong show of support to the people of Ukraine and, this week, this parliament will do just that”, she concluded.

Europarliament: Roberta Metsola elected president

Strasbourg 18.01.2022 Maltese centre-right politician Roberta Metsola succeed the Italian David Sassoli in Strasbourg and Brussels, at the head of the European Parliament. Several candidates have been promoted to replace the Italian Socialist David Sassoli, who died on January 11 from the complications of myeloma cancer at the age of 65 and whose mandate was due to end this month.

The election of the President of the European Parliament has taken place by secret ballot on Tuesday 18 January, in plenary session in Strasbourg. Roberta Metsola MEP from the party assembling European center-right, became, at 42, the youngest president of this European institution. Although it is a huge leap forward for equity agenda, there are also a number of MUST KNOW facts to understand Roberta Metsola vertical ascendance:

As a politician she has spent her entire career in the European institutions.
Roberta Metsola, born in 1979, graduated from the University of Malta and the College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium). A professional lawyer, she is “a pure product of the Brussels bubble”, sums up the Politico site. Speaking fluent Italian and Finnish, the Maltese worked from 2004 to 2012 in the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union in Brussels. Roberta Metsola headed the Justice and Home Affairs unit there, after having held the position of legal and judicial cooperation attaché.

The Maltese specialist in European law and policy subsequently collaborated with Baroness Catherine Ashton, First ever High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as legal adviser, specifies the European People’s Party in her biography.

Appointed MEP in 2013, replacing Simon Busuttil, Roberta Metsola thus became one of the first Maltese representatives sitting in Strasbourg. A member of the Maltese Nationalist Party, she was re-elected in the 2014 European elections with a “record number of votes for a woman”, underlines the Europoean think tank Bruegel.

As an MEP, Roberta Metsola is a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, where she has been also a coordinator for the EPP, continues Bruegel. The MEP also participated in the special committee of the Parliament devoted to the fight against terrorism, as well as in the delegation for relations with the USA. The MEP also took part in the European Parliament’s commission of inquiry into the Panama Papers.

According to Politico, Roberta Metsola is considered, within the Parliament, as one of the main MEPs focused on migration issues. She was notably the co-author of the Parliament’s report on Europe’s response to the refugee crisis, which effected her native Malta.

The candidacy of Roberta Metsola, mother of four, arouses controversy, because the MEP promotes conservative pro-life policy, fiercely opposing abortion. As French newspaper Liberation underlines, the elected official continues to disapprove of resolutions defending the right to abortion and contraception. Last September, Metsola also abstained during a vote calling on the European Commission to criminalise violence against women, points out French newspaper Le Monde.

In Malta, one of a few societies in Europe where abortion remains illegal in all circumstances. The candidate for the presidency of the European Parliament has however promised not to defend her openly anti-abortion positions at the head of the institution, notes Liberation. And as Euractiv media has underlined that, the EU has no competence in matters of abortion.

Malta is the only EU member state to strictly prohibit abortion entirely while Poland recently tightened the rules further shifting to conservative view by making it illegal to terminate a pregnancy even in cases of severe and irreversible fetal defects. Abortion is also illegal in Andorra and San Marino — although residents in the latter overwhelmingly backed a proposal to make abortion legal in a referendum over the weekend. Residents in Gibraltar similarly voted to ease abortion rules earlier this year. The European list is concluded by Lichtenstein and Monaco also have restrictive abortion rules.

Roberta Metsola “is consensual, except with the subject that makes us talk about her”, indicated a spokesperson for the Renew Europe (Liberals) parliamentary group with Elle magazine. As French newpaper Le Monde notes, the MP has regularly defended the rights of LGBTQ+ people. “As a woman, I know how important it is to have allies in your struggles. (…) Europe is a zone of freedom,” she said in December, Elle reports.

According to the Green MEP Manon Aubry, interviewed by the magazine, the Maltese candidate “has always defended a fairly strict sanitary cordon with the far right”. The elected also had more moderate positions than others, on the right, on the reception of refugees, recalls Le Monde. Metsola also called for the resignation of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in the wake of the death of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, murdered in October 2017.

Europarl: four MEPs competing for presidency

Strasbourt 18.01.2021 Members of the European Parliament are focused on four candidates in election process for the post of the EU president.(Image: illustration)

Roberta Metsola, Alice Kuhnke, Kosma Złotowski and Sira Rego are running for the post of Parliament’s President for the second half of the 2019-2024 term.

Parliament’s Vice-President Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D, PT) announced the four names to plenary on Monday evening, once the deadline for the first round of voting had closed.

Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT), Alice Kuhnke (Greens/EFA, SE), Kosma Złotowski (ECR, PL) and Sira Rego (The Left, ES) will make short presentations on Tuesday at 9.00, immediately before the first voting round, which will take place between 9.30 and 10.15, with the result announced at 11.00.

Candidacies are put forward by a political group or by a group of MEPs reaching the so-called low threshold, i.e. 1/20th of MEPs, or 36 out of 705 Members when all seats are filled. Candidates can be proposed, or withdrawn, ahead of each voting round.

To be elected, they will need to win an absolute majority of valid votes, cast by secret vote, i.e. 50% plus one. Due to the pandemic, the vote will be held remotely. If after three rounds, no candidate has been successful, the two candidates with the most votes in the third round will proceed to a fourth and final vote, in which the candidate with the most votes is elected.

The result of a potential second round of voting would be announced to plenary at 13.00; at 16.30 if there is a third round, and at 18.30 if a fourth one were necessary. Follow @EuroparlPress in Twitter for updates.

The newly-elected President may then deliver an opening address before presiding over the election of the remaining members of Parliament’s Bureau (Tuesday and Wednesday).

The President enjoys a broad range of executive and representative powers set out in Rule 22. Other than the duties expressly set out there, the President’s authority extends to “all powers that are necessary to preside over the proceedings of Parliament and to ensure that they are properly conducted”. The process for the election of the EP President is set out in Rules 14 to 16 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

Maltese MEP Metsola ascends President’s seat

Strasbourg 24.11.2021 The European Parliament’s largest group the EPP on Wednesday, Nov.24, nominated Maltese MEP Robert Metsola as their candidate to lead the House.

The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) chose Metsola during a Wednesday night vote, putting her in a prime position to potentially replace incumbent President – Italian Socialist David Sassoli, when his term expires in January.

Metsola received 112 votes in the first round of the group’s internal election, while her competitors received much less: Dutch MEP Ester de Lange got 44 votes while 18 voted for Austrian MEP Othmar Karas, according to the EPP officials.

“I’m truly honored to have been given a strong mandate by the EPP group to be our family’s candidate for president of the European Parliament,” Metsola told reporters at a press conference alongside EPP leader Manfred Weber.

If elected, Metsola would be the first Maltese official to win one of the EU’s top jobs. But her victory on Wednesday only begins a campaign that promises to be heated.

Metsola is said to have the backing of political groups beyond the EPP, but she may still have to compete for the leadership post against Sassoli and a few other candidates from the Greens and European Conservatives and Reformists.

EU New Pact on Migration & Asylum

Brussels 23.09.2020 Today, the European Commission is proposing a new Pact on Migration and Asylum, covering all of the different elements needed for a comprehensive European approach to migration. It sets out improved and faster procedures throughout the asylum and migration system. And it sets in balance the principles of fair sharing of responsibility and solidarity. This is crucial for rebuilding trust between Member States and confidence in the capacity of the European Union to manage migration.

Migration is a complex issue, with many facets that need to be weighed together. The safety of people who seek international protection or a better life, the concerns of countries at the EU’s external borders, which worry that migratory pressures will exceed their capacities and which need solidarity from others. Or the concerns of other EU Member States, which are concerned that, if procedures are not respected at the external borders, their own national systems for asylum, integration or return will not be able to cope in the event of large flows.

The current system no longer works. And for the past five years, the EU has not been able to fix it. The EU must overcome the current stalemate and rise up to the task. With the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, the Commission proposes common European solutions to a European challenge. The EU must move away from ad-hoc solutions and put in place a predictable and reliable migration management system.

Following extensive consultations and an honest and holistic assessment of the situation, the Commission proposes to improve the overall system. This includes looking at ways of improving cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, ensuring effective procedures, successful integration of refugees and return of those with no right to stay. No single solution on migration can satisfy all sides, on all aspects – but by working together, the EU can find a common solution.

“We are proposing today a European solution, to rebuild trust between Member States and to restore citizens’ confidence in our capacity to manage migration as a Union. The EU has already proven in other areas that it can take extraordinary steps to reconcile diverging perspectives. We have created a complex internal market, a common currency and an unprecedented recovery plan to rebuild our economies. It is now time to rise to the challenge to manage migration jointly, with the right balance between solidarity and responsibility” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

“Moria is a stark reminder that the clock has run out on how long we can live in a house half-built. The time has come to rally around a common, European migration policy. The Pact provides the missing pieces of the puzzle for a comprehensive approach to migration. No one Member State experiences migration in the same way and the different and unique challenges faced by all deserve to be recognised, acknowledged and addressed” Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “Migration has always been and always will be part of our societies. What we are proposing today will build a long-term migration policy that can translate European values into practical management. This set of proposals will mean clear, fair and faster border procedures, so that people do not have to wait in limbo. It means enhanced cooperation with third countries for fast returns, more legal pathways and strong actions to fight human smugglers. Fundamentally it protects the right to seek asylum”.

Stronger trust fostered by better and more effective procedures

The first pillar of the Commission’s approach to building confidence consists of more efficient and faster procedures. In particular, the Commission is proposing to introduce an integrated border procedure, which for the first time includes a pre-entry screening covering identification of all people crossing the EU’s external borders without permission or having been disembarked after a search and rescue operation.

This will also entail a health and a security check, fingerprinting and registration in the Eurodac database. After the screening, individuals can be channeled to the right procedure, be it at the border for certain categories of applicants or in a normal asylum procedure. As part of this border procedure, swift decisions on asylum or return will be made, providing quick certainty for people whose cases can be examined rapidly.

At the same time, all other procedures will be improved and subject to stronger monitoring and operational support from EU agencies. The EU’s digital infrastructure for migration management will be modernised to mirror and support these procedures.

Fair sharing of responsibility and solidarity

The second pillar at the core of the Pact is fair sharing of responsibility and solidarity. Member States will be bound to act responsibly and in solidarity with one another. Each Member State, without any exception, must contribute in solidarity in times of stress, to help stabilize the overall system, support Member States under pressure and ensure that the Union fulfils its humanitarian obligations.

In respect of the different situations of Member States and of fluctuating migratory pressures, the Commission proposes a system of flexible contributions from the Member States. These can range from relocation of asylum seekers from the country of first entry to taking over responsibility for returning individuals with no right to stay or various forms of operational support.

While the new system is based on cooperation and flexible forms of support starting off on a voluntary basis, more stringent contributions will be required at times of pressure on individual Member States, based on a safety net.

The solidarity mechanism will cover various situations – including disembarkation of persons following search and rescue operations, pressure, crisis situations or other specific circumstances.

A change of paradigm in cooperation with non-EU countries

The EU will seek to promote tailor-made and mutually beneficial partnerships with third countries. These will help address shared challenges such as migrant smuggling, will help develop legal pathways and will tackle the effective implementation of readmission agreements and arrangements. The EU and its Member States will act in unity using a wide range of tools to support cooperation with third countries on readmission.

A comprehensive approach

Today’s package will also seek to boost a common EU system for returns, to make EU migration rules more credible. This will include a more effective legal framework, a stronger role of the European Border and Coast Guard, and a newly appointed EU Return Coordinator with a network of national representatives to ensure consistency across the EU.

It will also propose a common governance for migration with better strategic planning to ensure that EU and national policies are aligned, and enhanced monitoring of migration management on the ground to enhance mutual trust.

The management of external borders will be improved. The European Border and Coast Guard standing corps, scheduled for deployment from 1 January 2021, will provide increased support wherever needed.

A credible legal migration and integration policy will benefit European societies and economies. The Commission will launch Talent Partnerships with key non-EU countries that will match labour and skills needs in the EU. The Pact will strengthen resettlement and promote other complementary pathways, seeking to develop a European model of community or private sponsorship. The Commission will also adopt a new comprehensive Action Plan on integration and inclusion for 2021-2024.

MEPs endorse stronger corps of border guards

Members of European Parliament have approved the proposal to assign to the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027 to strengthen the security in Mediterranean. 

Europe’s external borders have seen an unprecedented rise in the numbers of illegal migrants and refugees wishing to enter the EU in recent years. The plans,adopted by MEPs during April Plenary will see the EU agency equipped with a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027. The standing corps will consist of staff members employed by the agency as well as staff seconded on a mandatory basis by EU countries. 

“You have to be fair with those who deserve protection, harsh with those prey on the vulnerable and firm with those who seek to break the rules” the rapporteur Roberta Metsola (pictured above), the rapporteur said.

The critics of the measure say the measure is superficial and does not address the problem of the illegal migration in a meaningful way. Often articulated promises to apply  different approach to people who have right for asylum, and those who don’t are largely exclusionary, because it is impossible to trace their identities in principle.

African population is largely following verbal traditions, and has no custom to issue documents at birth. According World Bank 500 million Africans have no birth certificate and have no information on date of their birth, including day, month, year. This phenomena became notorious in Europe, when young men were successfully claiming to be minors, but there were no legal mechanism to establish their age. Subsequently in absence of population register in SubSaharan Africa the promises to make difference between different categories of illegal migrants crossing Mediterranean, are totally illusory.

The opponents of Roberta Metsola insist that at present shape the Coast Guard Agency is designed to accommodate illegal migrants plans to enter Europe safely, however it does not serve the interest of the European nations, some of which, like Italy, were overwhelmed by the influx of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

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