The popular Maltese woman reached the leadership of the European Parliament. But she might be swept away by the abortion dispute

For a long time, it seemed that Roberta Metsola’s journey to head of the European Parliament would be smooth sailing. She would only be the third woman since direct elections in 1979. But then another woman entered the life of the Maltese MEP. Polka, who doctors refused to abort the badly damaged fetus last November, fearing the consequences.

Izabela, 30, died of septic shock shortly after, and Europe was rocked by protests against restrictions on women’s rights. Just then, clouds began to gather over Robert Metsola.

Socialists and Liberals question the initial support of an otherwise popular co-worker because, in their opinion, it is impossible to vote for someone who opposes abortion at this time – which is carried out by the Metsola People’s Party. Elections for the new leadership of the European Parliament will take place next week. Who will head the only directly elected EU institution after the late David Sassoli is thus highly uncertain days before the vote.

Metsola went to the socialist faction on Wednesday to defend himself and increase his chances. Socialists or liberals will need. An absolute majority of the votes cast is required for elections, and so far only the People’s Faction, which has 182 members, can count on the seventy-seventh assembly.

The trial before another of the strongest socialists took place behind closed doors, but according to those present, it lived up to the expected scenario – mostly questions from a colleague regarding abortion and women’s rights in general to decide their health and bodies.

“She was asked how she specifically intends to support women in the role of President of the European Parliament and whether she will defend the right to abortion, since the majority of the European Parliament supports her,” Radka Maxová, now the only Czech member of the socialist faction, said Aktuálně.cz and HN.

While the energetic Maltese answered the first question and, according to Max, emphasized that he had pushed women to the forefront of Maltese politics at home, which he wanted to continue as possible head of the European Parliament, he ignored the question of abortion. support. “He just said that he would respect the opinion of the majority of the European Parliament on this matter,” Max added.

Strict Maltese

Most were resolved fairly clearly last June after months of wrangling. The European Parliament approved the so-called Matic report (according to Croatian correspondent Pedraga Matic) by 378 votes to 255, which said that women’s sexual health is part of human rights. The report directly calls on governments in trade unions to make women entitled to “legal abortion anywhere in the European Union.”

Although it is a non-binding document motivated primarily by the tightening of abortions in Poland and subsequent protests by women across Europe, lawmakers consider Matic’s report a milestone to which they refer.

Roberta Metsola voted against the report, as she has always raised her hand against abortion in the past when the issue arose in the European Parliament. At the same time, he never expressed his opinion publicly. He always pointed out that “the issue of abortion does not fall within the competence of the EU, but of individual countries”.

Her home Malta has one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in Europe. The protection of the unborn life is explicitly enshrined in the Constitution of Malta, and when the European Union joined in 2004, the island demanded a special amendment to the agreement that the Union would not interfere in this matter with Malta.

However, now abortion is back like a boomerang for Robert Metsola in his ambition to become head of the European Parliament. According to sources Aktuálně.cz, the faction made a good impression on audiences with the Socialists, among other things, it is important to call each MEP and each MEP by their first name as a sign of respect.

And other representatives of political competition also talk about it superlatively. For Dita Charanz, YES, the 42-year-old politician from the new member state represents “the fresh air we need in the European Parliament”. Charanz will vote for Metsola, although his faction, the Liberals, has yet to decide.

Exciting choice

Similarly, the mother of four young children was highlighted by MEP Tomáš Zdechovský (KDU-ČSL). This is despite the fact that Metsola supports refugee quotas, unlike most Czech politicians, including Zdechovsky. He has also long criticized the rule of law among Czech allies – in Poland and Hungary.

“This is just one of the thousands of things we talk about,” MEP said. “Roberta is a great negotiator. He assures when he speaks he can be tough, and at the same time he is a good person. I would definitely raise my hand for him,” Zdechovsk added.

However, the question was whether the support of comrades across factions would be enough for him. Both Socialists and Liberals will want to “trade” the possible support of a Popular Candidate for office in the European Parliament for their people. Depending on what the bid turns out to be, the faction leadership will order a vote on the favored Malta and other bidders. Next Tuesday promises an interesting choice.

Julia Craig

"Certified bacon geek. Evil social media fanatic. Music practitioner. Communicator."

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