Labour Party CEO Randolph De Battista has questioned Roberta Metsola's absence from EuroPride, claiming it was a "calculated" decision to appeal to the Nationalist Party's conservative base.
The EP president did not attend any of the events in Malta nor did she post on social media about the 10-day festival organised by ARC - Allied Rainbow Communities and supported by the government.
"Is it possible that her (Metsola's) large staff could not find a flight to come and say a few words about how she believes in civil rights, just as she does in Brussels?" De Battista asked.
But a spokesperson for the European Parliament revealed that Metsola had not been invited to speak at any of the events and her schedule showed other commitments including trips to Japan and New York as well as plenary sessions at the European Parliament.
The Labour MP raised the issue in a Facebook post on Tuesday, asking whether her absence was "a calculated move not to look bad with the conservative base because she will be asking for their vote in June".
He said that while Metsola is happy to take selfies with LGBTIQ+ activists in Brussels, she could not find a slot during EuroPride to participate in any of the activities.
De Battista said that his post is not meant to be partisan and LGBTIQ+ allies from the PN, such as Claudette Buttigieg and Graziella Attard Previ, deserve praise.
"But as much as I hate partisanship, being double-faced is worse. You cannot show one face in Brussels and another face in Malta. The people are not stupid," The PL CEO said.
Malta hosted the 2023 edition of EuroPride, a pan-European international event dedicated to LGBTIQ+ pride that is hosted in a different European city each year.
Discussions on LBTIQ+ issues, artistic exhibitions and concerts were all held Between September 7 and September 17, culminating in a large March in Valletta on Saturday, September 16.
De Battista said that Metsola, as EP president and a Maltese national, meant she should have celebrated with pride this "massive event" that happened in Malta.
Metsola's publicly available schedule shows that she was in Kyoto for a G7 summit from September 7 to 9, in European plenary sessions between September 11 and 14 and in New York between September 16 and 19.
Times of Malta asked Metsola's office for a reaction to the post and also why she had not written about EuroPride across her social media channels.
A statement by the European Parliament's liason office in Malta said that Metsola was not invited to speak at EuroPride and was unable to attend due to her institutional commitments.
"At her first opportunity to attend this year’s EuroPride, she will on Thursday visit the exhibition ‘The wind blows…waves in all directions’," the spokesperson for the European Parliament said.
"The President of the European Parliament is a proud ally to the LGBTIQ+ community, has always been so and will continue to be so," the statement said.
"EuroPride is a European celebration of love and equality. It is too important to be used as a partisan political football".
They did not say why Metsola, who is in Malta on Wednesday to address a PN mass meeting, did not post about EuroPride on social media.