Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola has been elected first vice-president of the European Parliament, the most senior role ever occupied by a Maltese.
She will serve in the second-highest post in the EP until January 2022, like president David Sassoli.
The European Parliament has 14 vice-presidents and they can replace the president in performing duties when necessary.
The appointment marks the first time a Maltese MEP was selected to hold one of the top jobs within the European institution.
Metsola was nominated by the European People’s Party, of which she has been a member since 2013. There were no other submissions for the role and nobody opposed the nomination, including members of other political groups. She was declared elected by acclamation.
Thank you everyone for your support.— Roberta Metsola MEP (@RobertaMetsola) November 12, 2020
Being elected Vice-President of the European Parliament is such an honour. It means a great deal and I will work hard to continue to build bridges between citizens and the European decision-making process.
I will not let you down. #VEEP
The vacancy for vice-president was created when former vice-president Mairead McGuinness became European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union in September.
The MEP is expected to inherit her predecessor's responsibilities, including a seat on the Conciliation Committee that is convened to resolve any disagreements between the Council and the EP.
Reacting to the appointment, Metsola said: "This is a role that I look forward to and I am determined to use the new responsibilities I am afforded to continue to be a strong voice for European citizens, for Malta and Gozo and continue to work to build bridges across the political divide.
"We have to hit the ground running. With the economic and health recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, terror threats, the BREXIT negotiations,; a new President in the United States, the situation in Belarus, continued migration challenges and a new rule of law framework all high on the agenda - I, together with President Sassoli and other MEPs, will continue to do our part to ensure that the European Parliament remains a strong link between citizens and the European decision making process."
Among those congratulating Metsola were President George Vella and PN leader Bernard Grech.