Challenges PCP over stance on Ukraine; scolds CHEGA over migrations
Visiting Portugal for two days this week, the speaker of the European parliament Roberta Metsola hasn’t pulled her punches. Talking to MPs today in parliament, she has dared PCP communist Paula Santos to visit Kiev, and challenged CHEGA leader André Ventura over his stance on migrations.
To Paula Santos, the 44-year-old Maltese politician said: “I decided to speak in the parliament of Ukraine on April 1, 2022. I ask you (MP Paula Santos) to say what you said here in front of Ukrainian MPs. To speak to those MPs who have not spoken to their wives for weeks, whose children cannot go to school (…). This is not about sitting at the table and getting people to negotiate. This is about getting Russia out of Ukraine. No more and no less.”
Santos had been repeating her well-worn mantra that ‘we must stop instigating and fuelling war in Ukraine and open up avenues for negotiation’. She accused the EU of ‘mobilising and providing millions of euros for armaments’ at the same time as refusing to increase people’s salaries and pensions.
On the effects of the war in Ukraine, mainly economic, Metsola admitted that it is most certainly necessary to listen to young people affected by the housing crisis and business people hit by inflation.
Says Lusa, she described the debate in which she took part in the Portuguese parliament today as “very lively”.
Responding directly to CHEGA about cases of alleged corruption in the EU, Metsola said it is necessary to face and analyse these problems but that generalisations should be avoided.
“We have seen what happened, and we have seen what we can do better, but we have to be a parliament that is not pushed into a corner by those who want to destroy the European project because of alleged actions taken by some,” she told him.
Referring to André Ventura’s criticism of the EU’s policies on migration, Metsola recalled that 2022 marks 10 years since the biggest crisis in the Mediterranean, urging the MP to weigh up his positions.
“I come from an island (Malta) which is at the heart of the problem. Do you know what we said 10 years ago? We said: ‘Never again’. We finally have, among the member states, the means to move forward. You (André Ventura) can say ‘no way’, but what I ask you is to sit at the table and vote for a pact that also looks at border protection because there are countries that are under more pressure than others (…) Don’t forget this: for millions of people, it is still safer to embark and face death (…) We are talking about people.”
Metsola also thanked the Portuguese MPs for mentioning Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia murdered in 2017 for exposing corruption.
“No journalist should be killed for doing their job just because they were investigating the truth. I don’t want this to happen either in Europe or in my country,” she said.
Roberta Metsola also showed concern about climate issues and violence against women in Afghanistan and Iran.
“I am not saying this because I am a woman (…), but this is what we see. Women are killed, and minorities are persecuted”..
This was the first time that a speaker of a European institution has participated in a debate with parliamentary leaders in the parliament’s plenary session.
In the afternoon, Roberta Metsola will participate in the Council of State at the invitation of Portuguese president Marcelo.
The meeting will address perspectives on the current European agenda less than a year before the European Parliament elections.
Source material: LUSA