Roberta Metsola touted as the next European Parliament President consensus choice – POLITICO

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On January 17th, the European Parliament Members will select their next president for a two-and-a-half-year term. 

POLITICO reports that the people rumoured to be in the running range from the well-known current Parliament president, to a top Parliament voice on migration, to an MEP crucial to the EU’s climate change policy.

Although no candidates have officially declared, but the internal manoeuvring has already begun, with POLITICO saying that David Sassoli, Roberta Metsola, Esther de Lange and Esteban González Pons are the most possible candidates for the next election.

POLITICO reports that Roberta Metsola may not have publicly declared her candidacy, but her Twitter account speaks for itself. Metsola, who since November of last year is the first EP Vice President, is seen as the CONSENSUS CHOICE for the role, adding that she “would be an acceptable choice for several groups in Parliament, including those pushing for a woman to lead the legislative body.”

Roberta Metsola – European Union 2021 – Source : EP

The Brussels based journal website: “Informally, we would support her,” said one official with the liberal Renew group. Metsola even recently met with Renew leader Dacian Cioloș to talk about mid-term elections.” Yet several MEPs, including some in her EPP group, conceded that having a president from Malta — a country with only six MEPs — is a disadvantage. Parliament presidents have often come from the EU’s large countries like Germany or France, or from one of the bloc’s founding countries like The Netherlands.  Speaking to the Times of Malta, Metsola didn’t rule out her candidacy.  “I am speaking to colleagues within the [EPP] group to listen to what they want from the person leading this institution and to discuss the vision for Europe over the next years,” she said.

POLITICO says that the Parliament President David Sassoli’s desire to run for a second term is an open secret within the EU’s legislative body. Sassoli, an Italian social democrat, unexpectedly became Parliament president in 2019 as part of a broader agreement to dole out top EU jobs. Under the deal, Sassoli was expected to stand aside when his term ended so a conservative could take over. But Sassoli’s Socialists & Democrats crew doesn’t believe the deal still holds. If Sassoli, a former TV journalist who became an MEP in 2009, decides to make his bid official, he will undoubtedly get support from his S&D group, POLITICO adds.

European Parliament president David Sassoli . EPA-EFE/ARIS OIKONOMOU / POOL

Sassoli would also struggle to get support from the Parliament’s smaller groups, especially the liberals, some of whom have mixed feelings about the Italian politician. One liberal MEP felt, for example, that Sassoli had “not defended the Parliament enough” in a fight with the European Commission over implementing a tool that lets the EU withhold funds from countries that don’t meet rule-of-law criteria.

Some liberals also fear that if they support Sassoli now, they might not get EPP support for the re-election of liberal European Council President Charles Michel.

POLITICO also refers to the possible candidature of Esther de Lange, who is described as the Veteran Option. A longtime operative for the Dutch Christian Democrat party, CDA, de Lange, 46, was elected as an MEP in 2007, making her the most senior person being floated for the presidency. 

Esther De Lange – Photo European Union 2021 – Source : EP

As a member of the Parliament’s environment committee, she was involved in drafting the EPP’s climate change position, which critics lambasted as overly ambiguous. She also provided Ursula von der Leyen with her punchiest line — “This is Europe’s man on the moon moment” — when the European Commission president presented Parliament with her Green Deal, a proposal to make the bloc climate neutral by 2050.  De Lange’s name has often come up as a possible replacement for Weber atop the EPP. And like Metsola, de Lange is one of the EPP’s most influential female MEPs. 

Another candidate is Esteban González Pons. The former Spanish senator from Valencia and one-time operative for Spain’s conservative Popular Party (PP), González Pons has long been the EPP group’s No. 2 behind Weber. 

Esteban González Pons – European Union 2021 – Source : EP

POLITICO says that elected to the European Parliament in 2014, Gonzáles Pons is known for his speaking talents. His direct and evocative warning to the British that they were “wrong” to leave the EU attracted more than 32,000 viewers on YouTube — a record for MEPs not named Guy Verhofstadt.  Yet the 57-year-old father of three has sent signals he is not seeking the presidency. 

Photo European Union 2021 – Source : EP

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