Member states fail to nominate '10 or more' women for EU top jobs

Policymakers have hit out at the EU's national governments for nominating too few female candidates for European commission posts.

By Kayleigh Rose Lewis

05 Aug 2014

Tuesday's nomination of Kristalina Georgieva, Bulgaria's returning nominee, sees the number of women increase to four, but with just five nominations to go the '10 or more' target championed by digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes will not be reached.

Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini, Czech regional policy minister Věra Jourová and Cecilia Malmström of Sweden, who is currently the EU's home affairs commissioner, are so far the only other females to be confirmed.

However, Slovenia have put forward two females and a male candidate, while Cyprus, Denmark, the Netherlands are believed to have chosen their candidates but not yet made them public, leaving just Belgium to nominate.

Greens/EFA co-chairs Rebecca Harms and Phillipe Lamberts expressed their frustration over the issue in a joint statement. They said, "The dearth of female candidates nominated by EU governments for commissioner posts is extremely frustrating.

"Despite the European parliament having made clear it will not accept a commission college with too few female candidates, based on the current list, we would have fewer females than in the outgoing European commission," they observed, adding, "This is both a blow for gender equality and a slight to the European parliament.

"There is no shortage of excellent and highly-qualified women in EU member states," stressed the deputies.

"It would be a scandalous situation for the European commission to take a step backwards as regards gender balance at its top level at a time when it is tasked with promoting equality across the EU.

"This is clearly unacceptable and incoming commission president [Jean-Claude] Juncker must send EU governments back to the drawing board," they argued.

"The European parliament will hold hearings with the nominated candidates once they have been allocated portfolios.

"Each candidate will be scrutinised and only if all are suitable for their posts will the European parliament support the entire commission college," explained Harms and Lamberts.

"The Greens already have doubts about some of the candidates. However, MEPs have made very clear that they will not accept a gender imbalanced commission, so Juncker needs to urgently address this before presenting his candidates to the European parliament," they concluded.

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