November 19, 2009
Yesterday morning, on 18 November and only a day before top EU jobs are decided, my female Members of the European Parliament (MEP) colleagues and I left the warmth of our EP offices to march together to Schuman square, where we demonstrated for a fair representation of women in the EU. While Commissioner candidates are being named by Member States, we actually went to the Council and Commission wearing ties, waving CVs and calling for a Commission that represents European women.
We wanted to raise our concerns once again with the President of the Commission regarding the current nomination process of the new college of Commissioners, in which, in the foreseeable scenario, there will not be more than five women among the 27 Commissioners.
I believe this small proportion does not, first and foremost, represent women in Europe, where around 53%, a clear majority, are women. In this perspective I wonder how one expects women to respect and identify with such an EU Commission. Or even, what image the European Commission wants to portray?
If we do not take into account all the talent that society has to offer, it should come as no surprise that women are Eurosceptic and reluctant to vote in European Elections.
That is why PES Women are calling on Mr Barroso and all EU heads of state to ensure that the new college of Commissioners will be gender balanced and will represent women in Europe. I am glad that we were several MEP from the PES and other political families, ensuring an impact in our effort to defend women’s interests in Europe.
The PES campaigned for a gender-equal European Commission and gender-equal European Parliament and we also called for the creation of a European Commissioner for Gender Equality. Now is the time for Mr Barroso to deliver on the Commission.
In the name of PES Women members I therefore urge:
the Commission President José Manuel Barroso to make another round of consultation with Member States’ governments, making it clear that anything less than was already achieved by the former Commission will not be acceptable (i.e. at least 27% women Commissioners);
the EU Commission to adhere to international commitments made by all EU governments for gender-balanced representation in all EU decision-making positions;
all MEPs to reject a Commission which is in such stark contrast with the principles and values of the EU.
This whish of a better gender balanced commission is not just supported by politicians that are concerned but from all women across. I invite you to visit the website of the campaign “gender balanced commission” initiated by members of civil society. On the website, you can sign a petition asking for the new Commission to be at least as gender balanced as the outgoing one and calling on the European Parliament not to approve the Commission until this is achieved.