In an open letter to Commission president Barroso and vice-president Reding today (1), the Greens urged the Commission to publish planned legislation introducing boardroom quotas for women as soon as possible. The Greens criticised the initiative by a group of EU member state governments seeking to block the proposals before they had even been published, and called on the Commission to present the draft legislation and submit it to the European Parliament and Council as part of the EU's democratic decision making process. Commenting on the letter and the situation, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms stated:
"The Commission must not give in to the bullying tactics of certain member states on boardroom quotas for women and should present the draft legislation as soon as possible. The EU has a long established legislative decision-making process, involving both the European Parliament and Council, and it is essential that these overdue proposals for boardroom quotas are submitted to this democratic process."
Greens/EFA co-president Dany Cohn-Bendit continued:
"Despite years of rhetoric, the percentage of women on boards of large European companies remains appalling, with the share of women in the highest decision-making bodies of the largest publically-listed companies at a mere 14%. This is certainly not because of a shortage of qualified women, with 60% of university qualifications in the EU in 2010 being awarded to women. Binding measures are clearly long overdue and urgently needed to address this glaring equality gap."
Greens/EFA spokesperson on women's affairs Marije Cornelissen concluded:
"The European Parliament has previously called on the Commission to come forward with binding legislation to increase female representation in corporate management bodies (2). The Greens will push to ensure it is consistent and supports binding quotas when deciding on the Commission's legislative proposals."
(1) Click for a copy of the letter (pdf)
(2) The European Parliament called for binding legislation on quotas in the Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou report on women and business leadership adopted on 6 July 2011. See the Green press release: http://www.greens-efa.eu/women-in-business-4149.html and the report http://bit.ly/QiQOzS