Today, more than 50 Members of the European Parliament from five political groups and from all over the EU have signed the 50/50 declaration, calling on Member States, European political parties and the European Institutions to take action in order to achieve gender balance in European decision making.
In 2014, Europeans will elect a new European Parliament. Will we reach parity among the MEPs? A new European Commission will also be appointed. Will the college of Commissioners consist of 50% women and 50% men? Therefore, a cross-party coalition of MEPs came together with the support of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) to make parity become a reality in the European institutions.
The MEPs call on Member States to nominate one female and one male candidate per Member State for the Commissioner’s post in 2014 as well as for all top positions in the EU institutions. The European Parliament political groups are called upon, in view of the European elections 2014, to compose national electoral lists in a way that will ensure gender parity in outcome as well as to ensure gender parity in the nomination of chairpersons within the committees, as well as in the composition of their Bureau (1).
The declaration is now open for all other MEPs and Members of National Parliaments to be signed and will be handed over to the European Commission and the national governments at the beginning of next year.
The members of the coalition’s core group stated:
MEP Franziska Brantner, Greens/EFA: “We do not longer accept that more than half of the European population is constantly excluded from decision-making that affects their daily life. Since 1957, equality between women and men has been enshrined in the EU’s treaties but everyday this basic principle is being violated. The case of Yves Mersch has shown recently how difficult it still is to break open male dominated structures and to arrange for gender equality. That’s why it’s high time for our 50/50 coalition! Until the European elections in 2014, we will mobilise and increase the pressure on institutions and governments. I hope for the support of all members of this house.”
MEP Zita Gurmai, S&D: “To improve women’s participation in European politics, we have to work towards achieving parity in the European Parliament as a result of the 2014 European elections. Beyond the indisputable point of Democracy, Justice and Equality, we must remember that all the evidence suggests that a more gender balanced representation in decision-making brings a strong added value to the institutions and the society. Furthermore, gender equality is one of the fundamental values of the European Union and as such the European institutions should be an example.”
MEP Sirpa Pietikainen, EPP: “Parity in decision-making is not only a matter of equality but also of quality. The more diversity there is among the decision-makers, the more diverse – and thus better – are the decisions. The European Union and its Member States can’t afford to underuse the capacity of the other half of the population in the decision-making.”
MEP Anneli Jäätteenmäki, ALDE: “Gender equality is a matter of both genders. I know a lot of men who have fought for gender equality and women’s rights in Europe. I welcome all women and men to take part in this campaign and sign the petition.”