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European Parliament could block 'too male Commission'

November 11, 2009 5:49 PM
Originally published by Diana Wallis

Diana Wallis MEPWomen Euro MPs are becoming increasingly militant ahead of the Commissioners being announced as it looks likely that Barroso's second Commission will contain just a handful of women.

Of the 13 Commissioners officially named so far just two are women with just one or two others expected for the remaining posts.

Senior female MEPs are increasingly belligerent, signing an open letter threatening that the whole Commission could be rejected.

Vice President of the European Parliament Diana Wallis MEP (UK Liberal Democrat) said:

"The current Commission has less than one-third of its members but we are facing the prospect of an incoming Commission which will be too male.

"Frankly that is unacceptable. There is a growing feeling that if the European Parliament does not see more female candidates than there were in Barroso's first Commission, it will reject the whole Commission and ask for more female candidates."

Anneli Jäätteenmäki MEP, former Finnish Prime Minister and a Vice Chair of ALDE (Finland Centre Party) added:

"The EU institutions must be representative of Europe's population as a whole. Women in the European Parliament call on those Member States who have yet to appoint their Commissioners to assign a woman and for Jose Manuel Barroso to honour his commitments to gender balance in the Commission."

Note:

In the current outgoing Commissions (Barroso I) there are 8 women out of 27 Commissioners.

Copy of letter:

Dear Sir/ Madam,

Now the Lisbon Treaty has been fully ratified, Member States will be finalizing who they send to Brussels as Commissioners. Commission President Barroso has already made his position clear by offering to assign more influential portfolios to those states which offer female candidates. However, to date, twelve candidates have been officially nominated for the posts of Commissioner by their respective Member States; just two of these are women.

There is a growing feeling that if the European Parliament does not see more female candidates than there were in Barroso's first Commission, it will reject the whole Commission and ask for more female candidates. We call on those Member States who have yet to appoint their Commissioners to assign a woman to show that the EU institutions can be representative of Europe's population as a whole, and for Jose Manuel Barroso to honour his commitments to gender balance in the Commission.

Yours,

Signatories

Anneli JÄÄTTEENMÄKI MEP

Former prime Minister and Vice-Chairwoman ALDE group

Diana WALLIS MEP

Vice President, European Parliament

Silvana KOCH MEHRIN MEP

Vice President, European Parliament

Izaskun BILBAO BARANDICA MEP

Vice-Chair, Delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community

Lena EK MEP

Vice Chair, Delegation to the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee

Rebecca HARMS MEP

Member, Conference of Presidents

Heidi HAUTALA MEP

Chair, sub-Committee on Human Rights

Siiri OVIIR MEP

Vice-Chair, Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee

Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN MEP

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Eva-Britt SVENSSON MEP

Chair, Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality