Tag Archives: Roberta METSOLA

EP: Chiocchetti appointed Secretary General

Strasbourg 13.09.2022 Today the Bureau of the European Parliament appointed Mr Alessandro Chiocchetti as the institution’s new Secretary General.

The newly appointed Secretary General will take up his functions on 1 January 2023.

The appointment follows the decision of the Bureau in June 2022 to accept incumbent Secretary General Klaus Welle’s wish to retire by the end of 2022.

According the European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure the Bureau appoints the Secretary General.

The process allowed for the Members of the Bureau to hear four different candidates and ask questions. After careful deliberations, the Bureau decided with a very large majority to appoint Mr Chiocchetti as Secretary General of the European Parliament.

The Secretary-General is the European Parliament’s most senior official. He heads Parliament’s administration.

Mr Alessandro Chiocchetti is a long-standing civil servant of the Parliament. He is currently the Head of the Cabinet of the President. Before taking up this post he was Director for Legislative and Committees’ Coordination in the Directorate-General for Internal Policies of the Union. He has previously served as Deputy Head of Cabinet for the President and Cabinet member for two Secretary-Generals.

The European Parliament’s Bureau consists of the President and the 14 Vice-Presidents of the Parliament. It is chaired by the President. The five Quaestors are members of the Bureau in an advisory capacity. The Bureau takes financial, organisational and administrative decisions on matters concerning the internal organisation of Parliament, its Secretariat and its bodies.

It is a designation process that has been particularly criticized for its lack of transparency. The management of the European Parliament appointed its new Secretary General on Monday, 12 September, evening, a strategic administrative position in the functioning of the institution.

Management body of the European institution, bringing together the president and the fourteen vice-presidents, “the office of the European Parliament has appointed Mr. Alessandro Chiocchetti as the new secretary general of the institution” with a start on January 1, announced the European Parliament. Aged 53, this Italian had been the chief of staff of the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola (EPP, right) since her election in January.

Alessandro Chiocchetti has a degree in Political Science and International Law (University of Padua). He started his work for the European Parliament in 1996 as an Accredited Parliamentary Assistant, EPP Italian Delegation, European Parliament.

EU humanitarian assistance to Ukraine

Brussels 13.05.2022 Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has created one of the largest humanitarian crises in Europe’s recent history, with the ongoing war causing increasing numbers of casualties, destruction and displacement within and outside Ukraine’s borders.(Image: Roberta Metsola, archive)

Ukraine’s civilian population is being subjected to shelling and violence and an estimated one-third of Ukrainians have been forced from their homes, either within the country or to neighbouring states. As of 6 July, more than 5.6 million Ukrainian refugees have been recorded across Europe, including Poland (1,207,650), but also Germany (867,000), the Czech Republic (388,097), Turkey (145,000) and Italy (141,562) . About 90% of them are women and children, who are also at a higher risk of violence and abuse, including human trafficking, smuggling and illegal adoption.

The numbers keep changing, but more than 2.5 million Ukrainians have returned home since the beginning of the Russian invasion. Some are returning to areas which were threatened by Russian forces at the beginning of the war but are now considered safer.

Michel: Invitation to EU Summit

Brussels 28.05.2022 Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their special meeting on 30 and 31 May 2022:
“We gather for a special meeting of the European Council on 30-31 May to take forward our discussions on Ukraine, energy, food security, and defence.

“Ukraine is showing incredible courage and dignity in the face of the Russian aggression and atrocities. From the very first day, we have been unwavering in our humanitarian, financial, military and political support to the Ukrainian people and their leadership. We will continue putting pressure on Russia. Our unity has always been our strongest asset. It remains our guiding principle.

“We will address the situation in Ukraine at our first working session, and President Zelenskyy will join us via video link at the beginning of this discussion. One of our most pressing concerns is assisting the Ukrainian state, along with our international partners, with its liquidity needs. We will also discuss how best to organise our support for Ukraine’s reconstruction, as a major global effort will be required to rebuild the country.

“We will come back to the issue of energy including high prices, which are hitting hard on our homes and businesses. We must accelerate our energy transition if we are to phase out our dependency on Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible. Building on our decisions taken in Versailles, we will discuss the best ways to take work forward.

“Russia’s military aggression risks having a dramatic effect on global food security. Food prices have spiked and we are facing serious risks of famine and destabilisation in many parts of the world. At our meeting, we will discuss concrete ways to help Ukraine export its agricultural produce using EU infrastructure. We will also see how to better coordinate multilateral initiatives in this regard. Given African countries’ acute vulnerability to food insecurity, African Union Chairperson Macky Sall will join us via video link to discuss the topic.

“Russia’s war against Ukraine has further bolstered our ambition for a strong, coordinated European defence. In March, we tasked the Commission, in coordination with the European Defence Agency, with putting forward an analysis of the defence investment gaps and proposing any further initiatives to strengthen the European defence industrial and technological base. Our most urgent priority is to coordinate Member States’ efforts to replenish stocks and build a European industrial base. We will discuss how to address these two issues.

“In terms of timing, our meeting will start on Monday at 4 p.m. with the traditional exchange of views with European Parliament President, Roberta Metsola.

“I look forward to seeing you in Brussels”.

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.

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