Thursday

1st Dec 2022

Gender equality least-included goal in EU budget, auditors find

  • The current seven-year EU budget has specific spending targets for climate and biodiversity actions — but no similar target for gender equality (Photo: Becca Tapert, Unsplash)
Listen to article

Gender equality is the EU priority which is least well covered across different programmes in the bloc's budget, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) concluded in a new report published on Monday (14 November).

The auditors checked how the EU Commission incorporated the bloc's overarching goals, such as fighting climate change, digital transition, biodiversity preservation, sustainable development, and gender equality, in its spending programmes.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It was the first time auditors had investigated such goals as a whole, and found major differences in how these priorities were incorporated into the current 2021-2027 budget.

While the commission reported that it had fully incorporated the key priorities into its budget programmes, the auditors found that there are, in fact, "significant differences" between climate and biodiversity, compared with gender equality.

The auditors also found the EU executive had provided overly-positive conclusions on the progress made towards "mainstreaming" targets.

Mainstreaming certain goals means systematically incorporating a specific issue and target into the planning, execution and evaluation of policies.

The auditors have found that climate and biodiversity priorities were mostly incorporated, while the UN's sustainable development goals, and the digital transformation targets, have been partially included.

Gender, on the other hand, had been incorporated to a much lesser extent, the Luxembourg-based ECA said.

Auditors found that EU legislation setting up a spending programme included the priorities, but that gender was actually integrated in fewer-than-half of the programmes under scrutiny.

The report found only 11 of 47 programmes declared amounts which are contributing to gender equality, totalling €12bn, or five percent of commitments (essentially money pledged but not yet paid) by the end of 2021.

The commission has only just started to track spending affecting gender equality, as there was no common system for tracking funds allocated and used on gender equality under the previous, 2014-2020, EU budget.

There is no overall target for spending related to the priorities of gender, digital or sustainable development goals in the long-term EU budget, the new report said.

The auditors recommended the commission refine the methodology for tracking "gender expenditure", and incorporate gender equality into future legislative proposals of programmes.

In an earlier, 2021 report, the ECA had already found that the commission paid little attention to gender analysis of EU policies and programmes.

Also, the commission made little information available on the EU budget's overall impact on gender equality in programme statements, or the commission's performance report on the EU budget.

The auditors also criticised the commission for not being accurate, and overestimating when it comes to tracking EU spending in terms of climate and biodiversity goals.

"The commission should better incorporate the EU's overarching policy priorities into its performance framework, in particular for gender equality, digital transition and the sustainable development goals," one of the auditors, responsible for the report, François-Roger Cazala, said.

The auditors checked a selection of 11 programmes that cover 90 percent of payments made up to the end of 2021.

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.

Women hardest hit by energy price hike

The current cost-of-living crisis hits harder women, especially single mothers, a survey shows. Also, women in the EU will from Tuesday until the rest of the year "work for free", because of the average 13 percent pay gap.

Opinion

How EU banks underwrote the Qatar World Cup

European banks and investors have invested heavily in Qatari sovereign bonds, and construction and hospitality companies — with scant attention to well-documented human rights violations.

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  2. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  3. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs
  4. Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?
  5. Why the EU asbestos directive revision ... needs revising
  6. Nato renews membership vow to Ukraine
  7. Catalan spyware victims demand justice
  8. Is the overwhelming critique of Qatar hypocritical?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us