Prime Minister Robert Abela has backed his political rival Roberta Metsola's bid to be the next European Parliament president.

Asked for his views on the Nationalist MEP's attempt to become the highest-ranking European politician in Maltese history, the prime minister gave her his support.

"If I did not support her nomination, I would be doing exactly what she did to our country. Therefore, the answer is obvious: yes I support her," he said.

Labour has previously accused the Nationalist party of attempting to damage Malta at EU level for speaking out over rule of law and corruption issues.

Robert Abela says he supports Roberta Metsola's bid to be EP President. Video: Chris Sant Fournier

Last week, Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba said he would back her bid for the top job, but the move saw some backlash from grassroots Labour supporters.

Metsola is seeking to become the presidential candidate for the European People's Party and will face off against Austrian MEP Othmar Karas and Esther de Lange in an election on Wednesday evening.

The group's 178 MEPs will gather for a private meeting to vote for the person who will represent the EPP in the presidential election in January. 

A win on Wednesday means she would have a high chance of assuming the role, under a long-standing agreement with the Socialists & Democrats.

Given Metsola is from Malta, a country with just two EPP MEPs, it is considered key for her to receive the backing of members from some of the larger EU countries, such as Germany and Spain.

According to the political news website Politico, senior conservative German MEPs are considering a plan that would see them support her in return for ensuring Germans get key positions around her. 

The package deal, officials told the site, would include recruiting Michael Alexander Speiser, a German parliament official.

It would also involve placing senior German MEPs like Rainer Wieland in several of the Parliament’s 14 vice-president slots, it reported.

However sources close to Metsola denied that there is any such backroom deal, dismissing it as a rumour being spread on the last day before the vote.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us