The European Parliament will soon elect a new President. Under a political agreement at the beginning of the legislature, it would go to a member of the European People’s Party, which has seen fit to put forward MEP Roberta Metsola, known for her very conservative positions on access to abortion and contraception.
The European Secularist Network is committed to gender equality, of which sexual and reproductive health and rights are an essential part. As such, we believe that the election of Ms Metsola would send a very negative message to European women.
Gender equality is a fundamental principle of the European Union. It is of the utmost importance that the European Parliament sends a clear signal of support to women’s fundamental rights, at a time when access to safe abortion, sex education and contraception is threatened in several Member States of our Union under political pressure from religious fundamentalists.
The representatives of the peoples of Europe must clearly state their support for women’s rights. As you know, the first President of the European Parliament, Simone Veil, is famous for strong advocacy of the law legalising abortion in France. Today, more than forty years later, Parliament’s support for this progress must be affirmed.
The network has sent a letter to the presidents of the GUE, S&D, Greens/EFA and Renew groups asking them not to accept the candidature of Ms Metsola and to propose another candidate known for her progressive positions on these issues.