MEP Roberta Metsola on Monday said she will vie for the European Parliament presidency, establishing her as a potential consensus candidate from the body’s powerful conservative group.
The Maltese politician revealed her decision in an email, seen by POLITICO, sent to MEP colleagues in the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), the Parliament’s largest bloc.
“I want to help get people in our member states to believe in Europe,” Metsola said in a statement to POLITICO confirming her candidacy. First elected to the European Parliament in 2013, Metsola was one of Malta’s first female MEPs and has become one of the EPP and Parliament’s point people on migration.
POLITICO adds that within Parliament, Metsola is seen as a candidate who could ultimately win support from the body’s various political factions. But first, she’ll have to earn the support of fellow EPP lawmakers, who will vote on November 24 to select the group’s single candidate for Parliament president.
If Metsola does sweep into the Parliament presidency, it would be the first time a Maltese national had secured one of the EU’s top jobs. It would also represent a significant departure for the Parliament, which has normally selected presidents from large EU countries like Germany or France, or from founding members like the Netherlands. Malta, a country with only around 515,000 people that joined the EU in 2004, is neither. Sassoli and his predecessor, Antonio Tajani, are both Italian.
Though Metsola, 42, would be an acceptable choice for several groups in Parliament, she will have to compete against a handful of internal EPP rivals and secure support from other left-wing parties.