Departing female EU commissioners lobby for more women in new Commission

Neelie Kroes 10 or MoreThe current 8 female EU commissioners have written to new Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to support his call for member states to appoint more women. The commissioners stated that they wanted to see at least 10 women appointed. The picture shows Dutch liberal commissioner Neelie Kroes holding up her hands to show symbolise support for the Ten or More campaign.

Their letter said:

Dear Jean Claude,

We wish to support your call for member states to support more women as new commissioners.

Over the past ten years, around one-third of European commissioners have been women, largely because José Manuel Barroso put his foot down and insisted on this.

It is also increasingly clear via research and anecdote that large organisations perform better with a diverse leadership; this corresponds with our experience in the Barroso I and Barroso II commissions.

The European Union is committed to making continual progress towards gender equality.  Such progress demands an increase, not a decrease, in the number of female commissioners, particularly as we have grown to be a family of 28 member states.

We therefore urge member states to nominate at least 10 female commissioners, with your support.

You deserve a flying start – and with 10 or more female commissioners in your team, you will get it.

Kind regards

Signed by

Androulla Vassiliou
Catherine Ashton
Maria Damanaki
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn
Kristalina Georgieva
Neelie Kroes
Cecilia Malmström
Connie Hedegaard

Sadly, it looks as if the UK is going to send another middle-aged white bloke, which is a shame when there are very good women like Sharon Bowles who could easily do the job well. She has no chance given that the Tory Euro-sceptics would have kittens. An interesting and surprising nomination comes from Neil Kinnock, who told  Sayeeda Warsi in the House of Lords that she should get the job. From the Huffington Post.

Kinnock, who was vice-president of the European Commission from 1995 to 2004, told Warsi on Thursday morning that she had “demonstrated such a full understanding of the real nature of the role of the commissioner and the way in which the reform agenda has got to be promulgated and effectively developed” that she would be perfect for the job.

He also said the fact Warsi was “manifestly a woman” would help Britain secure one of the top commission posts and enable the UK to make a “real breakthrough” and “fully represent the proper interests of this country”. Speaking in the House of Lords, he said: “Could I be so bold to nominate the noble lady for the position?”

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and News.


  • Antony Hook Antony Hook 12th Jul '14 - 1:04pm

    A European Commission is one of the most important position that the UK Government can nominate every 5 years.

    The coalition agreement is silent on the approach to be taken to the appointment. In future, coalition agreements might specify some basic criteria to be applied to the appointment and it would be quite reasonable for a Liberal Democrat to be nominated in 2019.

  • Antony Hook Antony Hook 12th Jul '14 - 1:05pm

    Excuse me, I mean of course “a Commissioner” rather “a Commission”!

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 12th Jul '14 - 1:12pm

    A good point – but I can’t see the Tories ever agreeing to that, so it would mean not being in coalition with them.

  • By 2019? I should hope so, too. In the absence of impending financial doom, there’s really no argument for going into coalition unless we can get a far, far better deal than we did last time. And no case against walking out should we get a repeat of fees, voting reform, the Lords, the snoopers’ charter or any of the other stitchups we’ve been put through over the past four years.

    As for the Commissioner Question, it’ll go to one of the old Tories in the Lords I expect. Avoid the by-election that might signify, reward a loyalist and try to get a portfolio that is easier to tie into national self-interest than the High Representative role Catherine Ashton has been in.

    I really don’t see Clegg getting the job. I also don’t think its a great idea – sending Britain’s least popular politician to Brussels to try and revive our relationship with it? Doesn’t seem likely. If there’s any chance at all of getting a Liberal Democrat nominated, we should hope for someone a little more credible. Sharon Bowles would be a good choice.

  • 2019? What if the referendum vote is no to Europe? We are having a referendum?

  • Well, Anne, if you’re so concerned about referendums a slightly more pertinent question might be, what if by 2019 this island is entitled to send not one but two Commissioners to Brussels? Who would be the best candidate for Scotland?

    But obviously if the UK decides to commit economic and geopolitical suicide and leaves the European Union, it will have no need of a candidate for the European Commission.

    By 2019 the government will have its hands more than full explaining to people why unemployment has increased, pay has decreased and Britain’s influence declined. It will also be somewhat distracted by a second Scottish question, assuming the one in September says no.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Jul '14 - 4:26am

    I wasn’t going to say anything on this thread, but I’m going to pull you up over one line “another middle aged white bloke”. This kind of language raises further barriers towards working class men and is not fair.


  • @ T-J. We still are supposed to live in a democracy but that is disappearing fast especially in the EU. The closed door stitch up of TTIP and it giving corporations the right to sue even over the NHS is enough for me to want to get out and quickly. This is going to increase unemployment in itself. Look what happened to Canada and Mexico. The EU is enabling big business to govern us even more than it is now under the Coalition and Labour is no different. We the people are well and truly in the mire. It will not matter if you have 20 commissioners when they will have to do as they are told by American conglomerates.

  • Anne, a couple of points.

    First, TTIP is the UK’s baby, it’s our idea and the one big thing we’re cashing in all our chips with Europe to make happen. We go, it fails. And more’s the point, we go and the likes of Farage and Cameron will be offering all that’s in TTIP and more to the US in a doomed attempt to avoid the damage caused by leaving the European single market.

    Second, it isn’t even through negotiation yet. The treaty that will be presented to the US Congress, the European Parliament and the member states to vote on, debate and decide on ratification hasn’t been written. There are plenty of stumbling blocks that can and probably will derail it – massive free trade negotiations have a very consistent habit of falling over for fairly trivial reasons, and there are plenty of less than trivial reasons why Europe’s big movers and shakers might not feel too enthusiastic about being best friends with the US government right now.

    And finally, it isn’t quite the corporate rule charter you seem to think it is. It would give American corporations the right to compete in our markets, on similar grounds to how European ones do now. If for example we don’t want corporations competing in our health sector, then we shouldn’t have a marketised health sector in the first place.

  • The problem isT-K that all our three main parties have marketised the NHS. I see no hope for us in or out of the EU to be frank. We do not have politicians working for this country or even the good of the people of the EU. It is all about having more power and money in the hands of the few. I think I represent the view of many, total disillusionment with the political class. I have no one to vote for so I really think there should be a section on ballot papers to reflect that rather than me write across and spoil them.

  • A marketised health service isn’t standard across the European Union, there is no conflict there. In fact, health is one policy area that the European Union doesn’t tend to legislate on very much at all, it being considered a matter best left to national governments. Interestingly, it isn’t even standard across the UK, with Scotland’s NHS being entirely public owned as far as I’m aware.

    But regardless, yes, there should be a None of the Above box. And in my opinion, any seat where None of the Above wins should be subject to reselection of candidates and a rerun election.

    I suspect that None of the Above would presently win the general election by a landslide, but its an upheaval we need to have if we’re to revitalise our democracy.

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