Metsola vows to sign Liberals’ abortion pact, after Macron meeting

European Parliament president Roberta Metsola will sign up to Simone Veil Pact that gurantees women’s access to contraception and abortion

French President Emanuel Macron is welcomed to the European Parliament by president Roberta Metsola
French President Emanuel Macron is welcomed to the European Parliament by president Roberta Metsola

European Parliament president Roberta Metsola will ditch her anti-abortion position, to sign up to a pact pushed by liberal Renew MEPs, guaranteeing women’s access to contraception and abortion.

The announcement comes just a day since the Nationalist MEP’s election to president of the EP and right after her first meeting with French president Emanuel Macron, who earlier in the day proposed enshrining abortion rights in the European Charter of Human Rights.

In a press conference with Macron, Metsola said she would sign the Simone Veil pact, the first aim of which is to guarantee “women’s access to contraception and abortion, as well as to information and education.”

The pact is promoted by Macron’s European political family, Renew Europe.

It is watershed moment for a Nationalist MEP whose avowed anti-choice stance was reflected in her voting record as MEP, famously having stated that voting on abortion was a red line for Nationalist MEPs.

The pact is named after Simone Veil, the French MEP and former health minister elected the first President of the European Parliament in 1979. A Holocaust survivor of both Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, she was a firm believer in the European integration as a way of guaranteeing peace and a feminist iconoclast

The pact calls on signatory MEPs to preserve, promote and strengthen the rights of all women at all levels, “European, national and local, in all areas, public and private, for all generations, in all the Member States of the European Union, under the aegis of the European institutions.”

The pact’s other tenets include the protection of maternity and paternity leave, the fight against violence against women, equality at work and political representation.

Metsola’s newfound direction builds on her commitment to MEPs to respect the European Parliament’s pro-choice position on abortion.

But it also puts her at odds with her home party leader’s categorical anti-abortion stance by saying he would not tolerate anyone representing the party to be in favour of abortion.

The pact declares that all signatories “wish that” the European Commission identifies “the most effective legislation for women in Europe, to encourage their introduction and application in other Member States or propose it at European level.”

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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