Maltese lawmaker Roberta Metsola secured overwhelming support to become President of the European Parliament on Tuesday, making her the first woman to hold the post for 20 years.
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She succeeds Italian socialist David Sassoli, who died this month, in presiding over the 705-member parliament, which adopts and amends EU legislative proposals and decides on the bloc’s budget.
Ms Metsola, who became a member of the EU in 2013 for the European People’s Party (EPP), said she wants to use her mainly ceremonial role to help “to believe in Europe. To re-capture that sense of hope & enthusiasm in our project. To stand up for those values that unite us as Europeans. That is why I am standing to be the next President of our European Parliament,” the new EP President wrote on social media.
I want people to believe in Europe. To re-capture that sense of hope & enthusiasm in our project. To stand up for those values that unite us as Europeans.
That's why I am standing to be the next President of our European Parliament.#Metsola4EU #Believepic.twitter.com/WaKkzX3P77
— Roberta Metsola MEP (@RobertaMetsola) January 15, 2022
She defeated two other candidates: Swedish Alice Kuhnke (Greens/European Free Alliance) and Spanish Sira Rego (European United Left – Nordic Green Left) in the presidency election, winning 458 of the 616 validly cast votes in the first round, meaning no run-off rounds were required.
The former EP President had been due to step down this week as part of a power-sharing deal under which the parliament’s socialist group would make way halfway through the assembly’s five-year term for a candidate from the EPP grouping. The European Parliament has had only two previous female presidents, Simone Veil and Nicole Fontaine, both French, since it became a directly elected assembly in 1979.
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Ewa Kopacz re-elected as vice-president
In turn, the former Polish Prime Minister, MEP Ewa Kopacz (PO) was re-elected vice-president of the European Parliament on Tuesday in Strasbourg. She received 467 votes. She is the first Polish woman to perform this function in the praesidium of the European Parliament.
“I have always believed that we should focus on what unites us and not on what separates us. Of course, we represent different political environments, different beliefs, different views, but we share a common mission – serving the interests of Europeans. I believe that we all share a common mission. We share universal European values, values such as tolerance, the rule of law, freedom of speech and a parliamentary system that is a reflection of European democracy. It is in this spirit that I would like to act as vice-president and not just speak, understand and not judge, make decisions collectively, not individually,” the former Prime Minister emphasised after her election.
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