President Metsola: ‘Make sure your voice is heard’
In a live interview on Facebook on 8 February, Roberta Metsola, the recently elected President of the European Parliament, talked about the results of the latest Eurobarometer opinion poll, public health, fighting climate change, poverty and inequality, promoting more inclusive legislation and strengthening Parliament’s role in the EU.
Europeans’ priorities: Public health, climate and tackling poverty
According to the Eurobarometer survey published on 8 February, EU citizens want the European Parliament to prioritise public health. The EU does not have many competencies in the area of health, but Metsola said that when it mattered the EU came together to procure equipment and vaccines, so that all EU citizens had equal access. “The European Parliament was at the forefront and leading that charge,” she said.
Climate change is another priority for people. Asked whether the EU is doing enough to reach its climate targets, Metsola said it is never enough, because this is an urgent issue.
Metsola said the Parliament has been and will continue to be very ambitious on climate and will continue to push the other institutions to go further on climate targets, but now is the time to implement what has been agreed.
On the EU’s role in tackling poverty and inequality, President Metsola stressed the need to pay attention to gender, as women have been affected more by the COVID pandemic. The unprecedented funds that were approved as part of the economic recovery package will include support for the green and digital transitions, all of which will help fill the gaps that are still apparent in some EU countries, she said.
The President said the EU should continue to raise awareness on vaccination, as vaccination levels remain too low in some countries.
President Metsola praised Parliament’s promotion and defence of LGBTIQ rights, underlining its condemnation of backsliding on those rights in countries such as Poland and Hungary. She also said that Parliament needs to act to fight gender inequality, such as the pay gap between men and women.
On reproductive rights and health, she said: “The Parliament’s position is extremely clear: the rights have to be enjoyed and promoted everywhere and that is the position that I will promote as European Parliament President. My position is that of the European Parliament.”
Engaging young people in the future of the EU
As only the third woman to lead the European Parliament, President Metsola said she is grateful to the women who came before her for breaking barriers. Her advice to young girls is: “Make sure your voice is heard. Never wait for somebody else to talk for you. You have a voice that can be as loud and the integrity of your argument can matter.”
She invited young people to express their ideas on Europe by participating in the Conference on the Future of Europe. “Send your messages, we will listen to them. It’s our responsibility, because in 2024 I need to convince [everyone], together with my colleagues here, that this place is worth keeping, because we are working for you,” she said, referring to the European elections.
Strengthening Parliament’s role in the EU
Metsola said Parliament has a “golden opportunity” to transform into a modern, effective and efficient institution and to draw lessons from the pandemic. She stressed Parliament wants the power to propose new laws, because Europeans want it to do more as the only directly-elected EU institution. “Let’s make sure we don’t hide behind political inability or unwillingness by saying there is no solution.”
Find out more
- Watch the live interview on Facebook
- Parliament’s website
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