28th Oct 2016

Female commissioners urge Juncker to set gender quota

The prospect of the next European Commission being heavily male-dominated has prompted outgoing female commissioners to draft a letter in response.

The letter, set to be signed by all nine current female commissioners, asks future president Jean-Claude Juncker to make sure at least 10 will be seated on his new team of 28.

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  • Vassiliou wants at least 10 female European commissioners in next mandate (Photo: European Commission)

Androulla Vassiliou, EU commissioner for culture, announced the initiative in Brussels on Thursday (10 July).

“The female commissioners are very worried that there will not be a sufficient number of women,” she told reporters.

The plan is to back Juncker in his bid to pressure EU governments to put forward more female candidates for the next EU executive.

She noted that the current President, Jose Barroso, had, at the start of his two mandates, insisted on greater female representation by making the request in writing to governments.

But so far, only Italy’s foreign affairs minister Federica Mogherini has been publicly touted to possibly take the helm of the EU’s foreign affairs service.

“It looks like one woman’s name is being floated, the Italian foreign minister, and it [other names] all seems to be men,” said Vassiliou’s spokesperson.

Another EU source said it would not be “credible or legitimate” to have a commission with just two or three women.

“All the names [currently] being put forward are just speculation. Nothing can be decided without the agreement of the president of the European Commission,” noted the contact.

Juncker is set be approved as president by the European Parliament on 15 July.

But the process for selecting and appointing commissioners is lengthy and will not be concluded before the end of September.

The list of commissioners is submitted for approval first to the Council, representing member states, and then to the European Parliament, which also has the right to veto the entire commission team.

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