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European parliament president pledges to defend rule of law

19 Jan 2022 / EU Print

EU parliament president in pledge to defend rule of law

Maltese lawyer Roberta Metsola has been elected as president of the European Parliament, with an absolute first-round majority of 458 votes out of remote secret poll pf 690.

Metsola (42) is the youngest European Parliament leader ever elected. She studied European law and politics at the College of Europe in Bruges.

In November 2020, Metsola was elected as first vice-president replacing Mairead McGuinness who became Ireland's European Commissioner.

Metsola will hold the position until the 2024 European elections, leading the parliament in the second half of the current legislative term.

Tribute

She replaces the late David Sassoli, to whom she paid tribute following her election (18 January).

At the beginning of the day’s proceedings, Kosma Złotowski from Poland withdrew his candidacy, bringing the number of candidates down to three. 

Metsola was the acting president after President Sassoli passed away on 11 January. 

She is the third female president of the European Parliament, after Simone Veil (1979-1982) and Nicole Fontaine (1999- 2002).

Addressing the House immediately after she was elected, President Metsola said: “The first thing I would like to do as president is to think about David Sassoli’s legacy: he was a fighter; he fought for Europe and for us, for this parliament.

“I will honour David Sassoli as president by always standing up for Europe, for our common values of democracy, dignity, justice, solidarity, equality, the rule of law, and fundamental rights.”

“I want people to recapture a sense of belief and enthusiasm for our project…

“Dear Europeans, in the next years, people across Europe will look to our institution for leadership and direction, while others will continue to test the limits of our democratic values and European principles.

Fight back 

“We must fight back against the anti-EU narrative that takes hold so easily and so quickly. Disinformation and misinformation, further amplified during the pandemic, fuel easy cynicism and cheap solutions of nationalism, authoritarianism, protectionism, isolationism,” she said.

Metsola added that Europe is about standing up for one another and defending those principles that led from the ashes of war and holocaust to peace, hope, and prosperity.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland