What's New(s)

What's New(s) - A new elected European Parliament president - 21/01/2022

What's New(s) - A new elected European Parliament president - 21/01/2022

What´s New(s)? La revue de presse anglophone – Erik Ruiz Martín & Nadine Vermeulen

You'll find the script below :

Since last Tuesday, the European Parliament has a new president: Roberta Metsola, elected on the day she turned 43. What do the media in different European countries write about the new conservative parliament leader ?

Well of course the news of Metsola´s election was widely shared by the media in Malta, homeland of the centre-right politician. The Times of Malta headlined that the president was elected in ‘landslide victory’ and also underlined that Metsola obtained the ‘highest international post ever held by a Maltese national’, and, on top, is ‘the youngest ever president of the EP.’

So mostly pride and praise, and what about media in other EU countries ?

In its article “Who is Roberta Metsola ?” Deutsche Welle describes the politician as someone praised as a bridge-builder. Metsola was an obvious choice, argues the newspaper, while she is respected across party lines. Using the words of party-colleague David Casa “Roberta’s rise and popularity prove that it is still possible to conduct politics through consensus.” Her critics however, have called her out for her strong anti-abortion stance – the Mediterranean island has one of the strictest abortion laws worldwide. Only last June, Metsola, who also bills herself as a feminist and LGBTQ progressive, voted against a report that urged all member states universal access to safe and legal abortion, wrote France 24. Her profile is marked by a tricky imbalance, argues El Confidencial: She may be one of the least conservative politicians in the EPP when it comes to fighting discrimination and inequality, at the same time, she is not in favour of legalising abortion.

And what will be the new president’s main priorities for the upcoming years?

Metsola’s main and most challenging task will be to increase the parliament’s influence over Brussels affairs after it has been reduced over the past 2 years during the pandemic, states Financial Times. Metsola herself vowed to step up for the EU, and work to make the parliament more “modern, effective, and efficient.”

But then moving on from European politics to the national level: France’s electoral game is speeding up. The right-wing candidates have started a battle to face Macron in the second round of the presidential elections ?

​​That's it, the right-wing candidates are battling it out to take on Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the presidential election. Éric Zemmour is the most controversial candidate, found guilty of racist hate speech just this week, notes France Presse. All this after his statements claiming that handicapped children should be educated separately, recalls Elsa Maudet in Libération. Against the context of a dirty war between Le Pen and Zemmour, Valérie Pécresse (Les Républicains) wants to establish herself as the right-wing candidate to challenge Macron for the throne, notes Beatriz Juez, Vocento's correspondent in Paris. It should be noted that neither of the two far-right candidates are currently convincing the French, since according to a poll commissioned by newspaper le Monde, 50% of French people see Le Pen as a danger to democracy, a figure that rises to 62% in the case of Zemmour. In the meantime, Macron has ramped up his rhetoric against France's minority of non-vaccinated people as a way of setting the political battle lines for the election argues Angelique Chrisafis in the Guardian.

What about the left, why are the leftist candidates almost discarded in the presidential race ?

The French left is extremely fragmented ahead of these elections. Although Anne Hidalgo, current mayor of Paris and candidate, proposed a left-wing primary, the rejection of all the other candidates has made her give up and present her own candidacy, notes Silvia Ayuso in El País. Although the biggest name in recent weeks has been Christine Taubira. In POLITICO, Clea Caulcutt, describes the candidate as a "left-wing superstar" and the most popular politician among left wing voters. However, without a united candidacy her participation will further fragment an already fragmented left. According to Victor Mallet, in Financial Times, the current pattern in the opinion polls suggests that the left's problem is not just ideological confusion or a lack of leadership, but a shift to the right by French voters.

Source photo : photobookings@europarl.europa.eu