Monday

5th Dec 2022

Agenda

Women fighting Covid-19 in focus This WEEK

  • 70 percent of the global health and social workforce are women, usually underpaid (Photo: European Commission)

Some 70 percent of the global health and social workforce are women, often underpaid.

In the EU, even though more women graduate from universities, they earn on average 16 percent less than men do and only eight percent of CEOs of the EU's largest companies are women, the EU Commission pointed out in its gender strategy last year.

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At the current pace of improvement, women will reach complete equality with men in 2080 in the EU, according to a report published by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) last October.

The Covid-19 pandemic risks slowing down progress on gender equality and even potentially send the EU backwards, EIGE director Carlien Scheele said at the time.

The run-up to International Women's Day (8 March) is the pretext for several events organised on women's rights this week in the EU.

MEPs will gather for a high-level event organised by the European Parliament's women's rights and gender equality committee focusing on women fighting the pandemic.

On Thursday (4 March), the event will feature EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, European Parliament president David Sassoli, Greek president Katerina Sakellaropoulou and frontline workers.

To help bridge the enduring gender pay gap, the commission on Wednesday (3 March) will present pay transparency measures so that differences in salaries or wages do not remain in the hidden from employees.

Last year, the commission spelt out that it wants "binding measures on pay transparency".

On Wednesday, MEPs will hear from women scientists and carers at the frontline on the fight against Covid-19.

Speakers will include professor Dr Katalin Karikó, the Hungarian-born biochemist credited with leading the development of the mRNA technique used by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines.

Dr Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, who led the Italian team that first isolated the Covid-19 virus, will also be at the online event.

Foreign affairs

The parliament's foreign affairs committee will vote on Thursday on the commission's report on Albania and North Macedonia - two countries that want to join the EU but have been blocked so far by some member states.

MEPs are expected to stay that the two countries still have outstanding issues with fighting corruption and organised crime, as well as with the judicial system.

On Monday, the 11th EU-Albania association council will focus on the pre-accession strategy.

Also on Monday, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell will be in the parliament's committee on foreign interference to discuss the EU's strategy to battle such attacks.

On Thursday, MEPs on the economy committee will hear the latest update on the EU's Covid-19 response from commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis, and economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.

Justice served

On Tuesday (2 March), the European Court of Justice will issue a ruling on a case that once again raises questions over judicial independence in Poland.

The case relates to the nomination of judges to the Polish Supreme Court and recent changes to the right to appeal such decisions.

On Monday, the civil liberties committee will discuss the migratory situation in the western Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. Sea arrivals to the archipelago surged in the second half of 2020, where there is limited reception capacity.

Home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson and president of the Canary Islands government, Ángel Víctor Torres, plus a representative of the NGO Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR) will present their views to MEPs.

On Tuesday, the civil liberties committee will vote on the parliament's input to the commission's upcoming 2021-2024 strategy for the protection of children's rights. The EP proposes better prevention of violence, improving education and mental health, digital inclusion and LGBTI issues.

Poland and Hungary battle to eradicate 'gender' in EU policies

The efforts by the two nationalist-conservative governments, which have both attacked LGBTIQ-rights and women' rights at home, is causing angst among several member states, who see it as a possible roll-back on gender rights.

Gender equality still 60 years away, warns study

A new report on gender equality in the EU makes it clear: improved gender equality in decision-making is the main driver of progress in the EU. And most progress so far is due to outliers Sweden, Denmark and France.

Coronavirus exposes increase in violence targeting women

Coronavirus lockdowns have triggered a spike in domestic, sexual and gender-based violence across Europe. However, experts stressed that the end of lockdowns will bring additional challenges, such as economic uncertainty or job losses, which can lead to more abuse.

Women hit hardest by corona economic crisis

While women are in the frontline on fighting the pandemic, they are also exposed more to the economic crisis that will follow. The pay gap could also grow. More security for flexible jobs, and investment in care work, could help.

Stakeholder

Who cares? Precarious situation facing 21st century heroines

In 2019, of all part-time jobs in the EU, 73.8 percent were held by women. Without a clear policy on flexible career development, women always end up sacrificing their career with knock on effects for the quality of female employment.

Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK

On Tuesday, EU finance and economy ministers are expected to discuss a whole series of highly-political files, with one country tying it all together: Hungary. EU and Western Balkan leaders will also meet in Tirana.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

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