Sunday

24th Jan 2021

EP to vote down commission with too few women

  • Of the eight publicly named commissioner nominees so far, all are men (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz has warned national governments that his institution will reject the incoming college of commissioners if there are not enough women in it.

Speaking on Tuesday (15 July) after MEPs elected Jean-Claude Juncker to be European Commission President, Schulz said that the current three to four names circulating is not enough.

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

"Looking at the information currently available on the number of female candidates, the commission would not receive the backing of majority in the European Parliament," said Schulz.

"I will make that point to the (EU leaders) tomorrow", he added, referring to the EU summit in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss further top posts, such as next EU foreign policy chief.

Juncker, who has the power to decide portfolios and gender balance in the commission, indicated he wants EU leaders to propose several candidates but admitted that he did not think EU leaders would "agree" to the idea.

He recalled that in 1999 he suggested three women candidates from Luxembourg to be commissioner - the centre-right Viviane Reding got the job, and retained it for two subsequent terms.

The current nine women commissioners last week sent a letter to Juncker urging him to make sure that at least 10 of the 28 commissioners in the incoming college are women.

At the moment, Italian foreign affairs minister Federica Mogherini and Bulgarian EU commissioner Kristalina Georgieva have cropped up as possible names for EU foreign affairs chief, a post that also doubles up as vice-president of the European Commission.

However, of the eight officially announced candidates - from Austria, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia Malta, Slovakia and the UK - all are men.

Other countries such as Poland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Hungary and Croatia are mulling men for the post.

While the portfolios are set to be discussed at Wednesday's summit, Juncker said he would revisit the issue at the beginning of August.

All incoming EU commissioners have to be individually vetted by the parliament, which, formally, can only vote down the commission as a whole, but which has in the past vetoed commissioner candidates it did not like.

Women in EU institutions get own 'caucus'

Women working in the EU institutions now have their own 'caucus' to advance gender equality, under an initiative by the Italian EU presidency.

EU leaders to discuss vaccine certificates

While some member states hope vaccine certificates could revive tourism, EU officials point out that it is not clear if vaccinated people can still carry the virus and infect others.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary buys Russia's Sputnik V vaccine
  2. Netherlands imposes curfew to halt new corona variant
  3. Green NGO fails to stop Europe's biggest gas burner
  4. Swedish minister reminds Europe of Russia's war
  5. Spain: Jesuit order apologises for decades of sexual abuse
  6. NGOs urge Borrell to address Egypt rights 'crisis'
  7. EU conflict-area education aid favours boys
  8. EU told to avoid hydrogen in building renovations

EU pushes back against rising homophobia

The EU Commission plans a proposal to ensure recognition children-parent relations in cross border situations, and legislation to support the mutual recognition of parenthood between member states.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk
  2. EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up
  3. Portugal's EU presidency marks return of corporate sponsors
  4. MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute
  5. EU warns UK to be 'very careful' in diplomatic status row
  6. A digital euro - could it happen?
  7. US returns to climate deal and WHO, as EU 'rejoices'
  8. Big tech: From Trump's best friend to censorship machine?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us