Newly elected European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said Europe could not heal from conflict while the Cyprus problem remains unsolved.
“Europe has a legacy of war, but also of healing.
“We can put this experience to use in helping efforts to end the separation in the EU’s last divided country – Cyprus – under the auspices of the UN plan,” Metsola told MEPs.
“We can never be truly whole while Cyprus remains split.”
The Maltese centre-right MEP was elected President of the European Parliament on Tuesday.
Metsola won 458 votes in the first round of balloting.
Swedish Green Alice Bah Kuhnke came second with 101 votes, while The Left’s Sira Rego of Spain was in third place with 57 votes.
“With humbleness, I feel honoured by this responsibility with which you are entrusting me,” Metsola told MEPs in a speech from the President’s seat.
“I promise you that I will work and do my utmost to work on behalf of this parliament and for the benefit of all EU citizens.”
Metsola had an absolute majority, avoiding a second round of voting.
Metsola succeeds Italian social democrat David Sassoli who died last week at the age of 65, shortly before his term in office ended.
She will serve for the next two and a half years — the second half of the current parliamentary term.
“The next part of the mandate will see a window of opportunity to make our parliament more modern, more effective and more efficient.”