Labour MP hits out at Metsola’s absence from Europride Malta events

Randolph De Battista criticises Roberta Metsola for finding time to come and address the PN mass meeting but not to attend a single Europride event held in Malta • EP says Metsola is a 'proud ally' of LGBTIQ+ community

Randolph De Battista (left) with his partner Cyrus Engerer, a Labour MEP (right), and PL MEP Alex Agius Saliba and EP vice president Marc Angel (centre) at the Pride march held in Malta (Photo: Facebook/Alex Agius Saliba)
Randolph De Battista (left) with his partner Cyrus Engerer, a Labour MEP (right), and PL MEP Alex Agius Saliba and EP vice president Marc Angel (centre) at the Pride march held in Malta (Photo: Facebook/Alex Agius Saliba)

Updated at 5:20pm with EP's reaction

Labour MP Randolph De Battista has called out European Parliament President Roberta Metsola for failing to make a single appearance in the Europride events held in Malta last week.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, De Battista accused Metsola of missing the 10-day events “not to irk the [Nationalist Party’s] conservative grassroots”.

De Battista hit out at what he described as Metsola's double personality – the one on display in Brussels and the one shown in Malta.

“A person who in Brussels takes selfies with LGBTIQ+ activists and others who work in the field of human rights… A person whose nationality all the more required her to come and celebrate with pride this enormous event happening in her home country. A person whose agenda is admittedly very busy but in a 10-day timespan could not find just one slot to come over,” De Battista said.

He noted that despite her busy schedule, Metsola will be finding time to get back to Malta to address the PN mass meeting on the eve of Independence Day.

“Do you think people are to blame for suspecting that the absence [for Europride] of the European Parliament president and EP election candidate Roberta Metsola was a calculated move not to appear bad with the conservative base she will be asking to vote for her in June?”

The Labour MP, who is openly gay, also posted a file photo of Metsola in Brussels posing with an EU flag blending into the rainbow flag characteristic of the LQGTIQ community.

“You cannot show one face in Brussels and a different face in Malta. People are not nincompoops…” De Battista ended his rant.

Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba also called out the European Parliament President for not being in Malta for the Europride march. “Did she fear losing a vote of the conservatives and extremists who never accepted the rights of this minority?”

Malta hosted Europride this year, which culminated in Saturday’s well-attended Pride march held in Valletta and Floriana. The march saw the participation of Prime Minister Robert Abela, Opposition leader Bernard Grech, and European Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli, among other politicians from both sides of the Maltese parliament.

Metsola unable to attend activities due to institutional commitments

In a terse reaction, a spokesperson for the European Parliament said Metsola was not invited to speak at Europride and was unable to attend other activities because of institutional commitments at the G7 Speakers' Summit in Japan, the EP's plenary session and the UN General Assembly in New York.

"The European Parliament does not take the accusations by a government Member of Parliament of Malta lightly. The European Parliament is recognised across the world for its work on LGBTIQ+ and its President is a global leader in the commitment to equality and the protection of LGBTIQ+ rights," the spokesperson said.

He added that the European Parliament Liaison Office, Vice-Presidents and MEPs were present for the Pride march held in Malta, adding that at her first opportunity to attend events linked to EuroPride, Metsola will on Thursday visit the exhibition The Wind Blows… Waves In All Directions.

"The President of the European Parliament is a proud ally to the LGBTIQ+ community, has always been so and will continue to be so. EuroPride is a European celebration of love and equality. It is too important to be used as a partisan political football," the spokesperson said.