In the future, EU governments should present one male and one female candidate to the post of Commissioner in order to enable the President of the Commission to ensure gender balance in the European Commission. This is one of the key recommendations of a resolution drafted by Labour MEP Richard Corbett and approved today by the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Speaking after the vote, Richard Corbett said:
The Commissioner hearings prior to Parliament’s vote of confidence are an opportunity for the MEPs to scrutinise and cross examine each individual candidate, but also to look at the overall balance of the Commission.
Last year, the Socialists and Democrats Group led a campaign to boost female representation in the European Commission. S&D MEPs threatened to reject the entire college of Commissioners as there were not enough women proposed. Intense pressure was put on the remaining governments yet to present candidates, to appoint women in order to prevent a political crisis in the European Parliament.
Drawing the lessons of this period, we believe that EU governments should be encouraged to put forward at least two candidates on an equal footing for consideration by the President-elect. This would help ensure a better gender balance. Currently there are only nine female commissioners.
S&D Group spokesperson on constitutional affairs Mercedes Bresso added:
Equality between men and women is rooted in all policies of the EU. The EU is also pushing big companies to break the glass ceiling so that women sit on their boards. Europe must apply the principles of gender equality that it preaches and make sure that all EU institutions are truly representative of all EU citizens.