On 14 March, the ALDE Group welcomed the adoption of a cross-party resolution on gender balance in EU economic and monetary affairs nominations.
The resolution is the consequence of an ALDE Group intervention, by ALDE Group President Guy Verhofstadt, in the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents, which drew the house’s attention to the submission of an all-male shortlist for nominations for top EU finance jobs on the executive Board of the ECB, the appointment of the Chair of the European Banking Authority and the appointment of a member of the Single Resolution Board.
The submission of an all-male shortlist for these positions fits a trend; a degradation of ambition when it comes to gender equality in key EU finance jobs.
Verhofstadt's intervention led to a letter of complaint from the European Parliament’s President to both the European Commission and the Council about the matter. Both the Council and the European Commission have since responded, inadequately.
The ALDE Group, which has always called for greater gender equality and gender balanced short lists for positions within the EU financial and economic bodies, believes that the Commission and the large majority of EU governments have so far failed in this respect and that this cannot be allowed to continue.
While the resolution was ultimately supported by a large majority of MEPs, the ALDE Group expresses its disappointment at attempts made by the EPP Group to weaken a key paragraph in the resolution, which foresaw a strong stance of the Parliament.
Despite pressure by the ALDE Group to postpone the votes on two of the non-urgent appointments, following non-committal responses to the Parliament’s letter by President Juncker and the Council, the S & D Group in the European Parliament and the EPP Group refused to support the ALDE Group’s request for a deferral.
Commenting after the vote on the resolution today and the approval of the nominations, Nils Torvalds MEP said:“The EU must implement its promise to promote women to top positions. While the resolution adopted today is to be welcomed, the weak positions taken by both the EPP and S&D groups on this issue and with regard to the nominations are deeply troubling. I can only hope in future they put gender equality ahead of vested party political interests."
Sophie In‘ t Veld MEP, ALDE Group First Vice-President, commented: "One good thing has come out of this shambolic process; it has separated those who genuinely care about advancing gender equality, from those political parties who pay lip service to this issue. The Council and Commission continuously ignore our request for gender balance, with the result that there only two women left in the top management of these bodies, which is a disgrace. In the future, I hope MEP's in this house will refuse to even consider lists where the gender balance principle has not been respected. Going forward, we need a roadmap to real reform.”
Jean Arthuis MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Affairs Committee commented: “The general principle of gender balance must be respected for the composition of the boards of the ECB and of the supervisory authorities. It is time to translate words into deeds, first by implementing this principle when the Council and the Commission draw up the shortlists of candidates. Europe can and must do better in order to tackle gender imbalances."