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To the barricades - well at least to the Council building!

November 18, 2009 6:02 PM
Diana with female colleagues from the EP 'presenting their CVs' at the Council building in Brussels today

Diana with female colleagues from the EP 'presenting their CVs' at the Council building in Brussels today

Women Euro MPs are becoming increasingly militant ahead of the European Council meeting being held in Brussels later this week which will discuss who will take up the 'top' jobs in the EU.

Local Euro MP, Diana Wallis, lead an all-party group of female MEPs to the Council building in Brussels this afternoon in order to protest against the lack of women candidates being mentioned in the Council's "behind closed door" proceedings of who will take up the 'top' jobs in the EU.

Diana Wallis, a Vice President of the Parliament, said:

"Of the 16 Commissioners officially named so far just five are women and there is a real likelihood that we won't even reach the pretty low numbers of women in the current Commission.

"In the UK we seem to have been sidetracked by the unlikely appointments of Tony Blair and David Milliband when we have a perfectly good Commissioner (and a woman) in Cathy Ashton. I urged Chris Bryant, the Minister for Europe, when I met him in Brussels yesterday to forget Blair and Milliband and re-appoint Cathy Ashton.

"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 when it come to be voted on by the Parliament. Simply we will ask for more female candidates."

Notes:

Following various reshuffles, Barroso had a maximum of ten female commissioners out of 27, although there are currently eight female commissioners.

The delegation of female MEPs led by Diana Wallis, VP, included many high-profile members of the European Parliament, such as Rebecca Harms, Co-president of the Greens /EFA Group , Eva Britt Svensson, (GUE/ NGL Group) chairwoman of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, Pervenche Beres (S&D) chairwoman of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Britta Thomsen S&D Co ordinator of the FEMM committee, Marije Cornelissen ( Greens/ALE), Member of the FEMM committee, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Vice President of the ALDE Group, former PM of Finland.

They walked together to the Council in order to symbolically "deliver" their CVs and a letter (below) before nominations for Commissioners are formalised by Member States at the summit on Thursday 19th November and the candidates for new top EU positions are decided.

Brussels,

18 November 2009

To the European Union Heads of Government,

You are meeting over the next few days to decide on the European Union's so-called 'top jobs' and some of you will also be finalising your choice of Commissioner.

To date these processes have been without transparency and have signalled the worst aspects of an old and unrepresentative EU. You have a few days to make a difference and to inspire our citizens to have more connection with our institutions.

If these posts were subject to an appointment process in any of our Member States, the process to date would be invalid for failure to respect our own legislation on non-discrimination and gender balance.

Be clear, if these posts are not filled in a way that reflects the diversity of European society, especially in respect of the number of female candidates, your choices may not pass the European Parliament.

Yours

The MEPs in Suits