President of European Parliament visits TAU

Left to right: Professor Dan Peer, EP President Roberta Metsola, Professor Ariel Porat, and Professor Yossi Shain.

Roberta Metsola pledges to work toward bolstered Israel-EU ties

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European Parliament President Roberta Metsola visited Tel Aviv University on May 22 to discuss critical global and regional issues with students in her first stop on a three-day visit to Israel. Metsola said she was “impressed by the engagement, the questions and ideas put forward by students. Always good to listen and discuss the future with young people — where there is dialogue there is hope.”

Metsola told a packed hall at TAU’s Sourasky Central Library that she would advocate for strengthened ties between Israel and the EU throughout her visit and upon her return to Europe.

“I think there is so much we can do together,” she said. “I will take this message with me and pass it on to leaders.” Metsola, 43, is recognized as part of an emerging generation of young leaders in Europe and is the first woman president of the European Parliament in over 20 years.

Israeli MK Professor Yossi Shain, head of the Knesset delegation for relations with the European Parliament, initiated the visit and moderated the event. He is the former head of the School of Political Science, Government and International Affairs at TAU’s Gershon H. Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences.

TAU President Professor Ariel Porat and TAU Vice President of Research and Development Professor Dan Peer greeted Metsola before a question-and-answer session with students. They underscored the significance of her visit, considering the University’s centrality in EU-Israel relations.

Recognized as one of the most successful institutions under the EU’s Horizon programs for research and innovation, TAU researchers have been awarded 183 grants and nearly 180 million euro in funding from the initiative. The University also boasts a deep network of 236 partnerships in Europe with 177 partners across the EU. In addition, hundreds of students from Europe study at TAU International at any given time, dozens of whom attended the event. Furthermore, TAU is expanding its presence on the continent with several programs, such as its first slated extension overseas at a TAU campus in Florence, Italy.

During the animated discussion with students, Metsola touched on a range of topics, including academic freedom, rising antisemitism around world and Europe, climate change, regional geopolitics, immigration, and Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“My position is the position of the European Parliament — we uphold that peace remains the objective,” she said in response to a question about the Middle East conflict. “Our message is one of peace and against violence.”