Commission, Equal Rights, Gender

After the European elections in June next year there will be some amendments to the way the European Union works. Yes, you’ve got it. I’m talking about the Lisbon Treaty. Two important posts need to be filled after June 2009, assuming all Member States ratify the Treaty. One is the President of the Council of Ministers who will serve for two and a half years as opposed to the current six-month rotating presidency. The other is a new leadership position in external affairs combining the roles of the present Council High Representative and the External Affairs Commissioner.

Both these reforms are highly sensible. It’s not the reforms which are the problem. It’s not even the candidates who are being put forward for the posts. The real issue is the lack of women. Despite the excellent representation of women in the European Parliament, currently standing at one third of the members, it seems impossible to get women into senior positions in the Commission and to a lesser extent the Council. There really is no excuse for such gender imbalance.