President of the European Council tells European Parliament that he is committed to the promotion of gender equality but says Yves Mersch should join all-male board.
Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council,
has tried to reassure MEPs that he wants more women to fill vacant positions in
the European Union – but urged them to support the appointment of a man to
European Central Bank's executive board.
Van Rompuy, who was speaking to a full session of the
European Parliament in Strasbourg today (23 October), said it was now “urgent”
to fill the vacancy at the ECB and that MEPs should support nominee Yves Mersch
because he was the best person for the job.
Last night (22 October) MEPs in the economic and monetary
affairs committee, voted against Mersch, the head of Luxembourg's central bank,
getting a place on the six-man ECB board, because they said women should have
been considered for the position.
Van Rompuy hopes that his intervention will encourage MEPs,
who all vote on the issue tomorrow (24 October), to overturn the committee's
approach and give Mersch their backing.
commitment to promote the equality of women and men is an objective laid down
in the treaty,” Van Rompuy said, adding that the MEPs' stance was “an
understandable expression of concern that a great deal remains to be achieved,
notably regarding the European Central Bank.”
He added: “For my part, at last week's
European Council, I made a strong appeal to all heads of state or government to
identify and propose good female candidates for vacant posts at European level,
in particular in the economic and financial sectors, where the
of women is blatant.
“I underlined that we need to be active in
encouraging this process.”
Van Rompuy said that the decision should be
based on Mersch's “professional qualification and experience”, something that
MEPs in last night's debate said they did not call into question.
Mersch were appointed, and all the current members of the board served out
their full terms in office, the executive board would remain all-male until at
centre-left and liberals on the committee led
the negative vote last night as a way of protesting against the
member states for not putting any female candidates forward.
Bowles, the chairman of the committee, said after the vote last night that
there was “still time for something substantial to come our way that may make
us see things differently.”
The Parliament can not block Mersch's
appointment indefinitely, but it would be a significant embarrassment for the
EU's Council of Ministers to appoint him without MEP support.
© 2013 European Voice. All rights reserved.