Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

Parliament snubs ECB on 'gender bias'

  • Bowles next to ECB chief Mario Draghi - the British MEP is tipped for the top financial job in London (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

MEPs in the economic and monetary affairs committee accused eurozone finance ministers of "gender bias" on Monday (22 October) in a vote against the nomination of Yves Mersch to the board of the European Central Bank (ECB).

Despite pro-Mersch amendments by some MEPs from the two main political groups - the centre-right EPP and the centre-left S&D - the negative resolution got through by 21 votes to 12 with 13 abstentions.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The European Parliament has no legal power to block Mersch.

But its political move is the first time it has used its consultative role to reject an ECB candidate.

His appointment would mean that there would be no women at the ECB's top table for at least the next six years, when its vice-president, Vitor Constancio, is due to leave.

The board has been male-only since May 2011 when Gertrude Tumpel Gugerell left.

British Liberal deputy and committee chair Sharon Bowles said in a statement that MEPs could overturn their decision in Thursday's plenary vote provided that European Council chief Herman Van Rompuy sets out concrete plans to improve gender balance in the bank and in top posts in EU national finance ministries and central banks.

Van Rompuy will address MEPs later on Tuesday when he reports back on last week's EU summit.

During an uncomfortable hearing with Mersch in which MEPs lambasted the Council while saying they did not question Mersch's professional competence, the Luxemburger refused to withdraw his nomination when asked to do so by Swedish Liberal deputy Olle Schmidt.

"We don‘t have anything against you ... But what can we do when Council behaves so badly?" French Liberal MEP Sylvie Goulard said.

Mersch noted he had the support of ministers and that to reject him would be an unnecessary distraction as the ECB battles with the crisis.

"An engine [the board] with six cylinders that runs on five is suboptimal," he said.

For her part, Bowles added it is "baffling that member states are not pushing for more women in key finance positions."

Bowles herself is among leading candidates to succeed Mervyn King as the next governor of the Bank of England.

Sven Giegold, a German Green MEP, said the committee vote would send "a strong political signal to EU governments that they cannot continue to ignore the exclusion of women from the eurozone's highest decision-making bodies."

Analysis

Parliament bares teeth on ECB

The ECB should not make an enemy of the EU parliament as the power of both institutions grows.

Opinion

Time for real debate on EU chauvinism

Sixty five years after the Treaty of Rome, it is time for an open, democratic debate on EU action about sexism on corporate boards, writes Leanda Barrington-Leach.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions
  2. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  3. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  4. EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says
  5. Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  6. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  7. May pleads for more, as EU makes Brexit gesture
  8. EU circles the wagons around Iran deal