Roberta Metsola was met with cheers and chants of support as she met members of the public in her first visit to her home country since she was elected as European Parliament president in January. 

Her supporters had their first chance to congratulate her during festivities marking the feast of St Paul's Shipwreck, which is being celebrated on Thursday, a public holiday.

She emerged from the Church of St Paul's Shipwreck in Valletta to cheers and yells of "Roberta!", with one particularly enthusiastic supporter shouting, "We did it! We did it!"

Others posed for selfies while some lined up to shake her hand and embrace her.

Roberta Metsola poses for a selfie with a supporter. Video: Claire Farrugia

Metsola, a Nationalist Party MEP, became the youngest European Parliament president and the first woman to lead the assembly in more than two decades.

She kicked off her visit in Malta with a meeting with President George Vella.

"It is important to the European Parliament that we reach out to people in all member states and bring the European project closer. That is the aim of my visit to Malta.

"Of course, on a personal note, I could not be more pleased to be coming home to Malta and Gozo on an official visit and am very much looking forward to my discussion with President George Vella," Metsola said ahead of her visit.

Later she said it was "good to be back" in Malta, and described the meeting with President Vella as "cordial" and said they had discussed the role of Malta in a "renewable European Union", the impact of the pandemic, challenges facing the Mediterranean and the current situation in Ukraine. 

Later in the afternoon, Metsola will be visiting the site of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia where she is expected to lay wreaths.

"During my visit, I will reiterate the European Parliament’s commitment to uphold the fundamental values of the European Union and I will represent the European Parliament by laying flowers at the site of the assassination of investigative journalist Caruana Galizia," she said. 

Photo: Matthew MirabelliPhoto: Matthew Mirabelli


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