[Brussels, 30 October 2019]
The European Women’s Lobby has ran the 50/50 Campaign in the months leading up to the European elections. The campaign objective was to achieve parity between women and men in the European institutions and to ensure demands detailed in the “Women for European Europe for Women” manifesto are delivered. The European elections saw an increase of the number of women elected MEPs (from 36% to 41%) which, while still not enough, was already an accomplishment. In addition, our messages and demands were echoed and spread more and more among the political landscape and citizens. Two of the major European Political groups adopted elements of our language and many of our demands: calling for a Feminist Europe as part of their campaigns.
In the wake of the European Election campaign, we are now engaging with the (former and new) European institutions to ensure our demands are taken on board during the next legislative cycle. We have seen the appointment of the first ever woman President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen and we recognise her efforts to establish parity in the new College of Commissioners: unfortunately, it seems this will still not be achieved as we are now looking at a balance of 10/ 11 women and 14/15 men – depending on Romania’s final choice - since the latest nominations to replace the non-selected Commissioner-designates.
As identified during our General Assembly with our members, our engagement strategy mainly focuses on the following institutions: the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Presidencies. The follow-up #EuropeForWomen action is already ongoing:
• Together with EWL Members, the main objective with the European Parliament is to work with MEP allies so we can ensure that they are aware of our work and or demands and work together towards a feminist Europe. For this purpose and on the basis of our Manifesto, we have identified key priorities for the European Parliament in the first year of its mandate. We will make sure to have them heard by new MEPs. We have also been working with the FEMM Committee Secretariat and specific MEPs who are allies within the FEMM committee, as well as organising several events with allies in the European Parliament over the coming months (like our Week of Action that just took place).
• Following the appointment of President Ursula Von der Leyen, who has proposed a Commission that is almost a parity Commission with 14 Male and 13 women Commissioners, we prepared questions for the hearings of the Commissioners and followed them, especially the Commissioners on Equality, Digital Age, Jobs, Budget and Home Affairs who are particularly relevant for our work. We also had a first meeting with Commissioner Designate Dalli, responsible for Equality. The main objective of our advocacy with the European Commission for now is to get a Political Strategy on Equality between women and men, which has been severely lacking from the last mandate and is fundamental to improve women’s rights by showing real political commitment.
• We had also met with the Commissioner Designate for Equality Dalli and Members of the European Parliament. We will continue reaching out to new European representatives to push for our demands.
• The current Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU is halfway through and very keen to set in motion a period in European politics to put in place a strategy for equality between women and men.
The EWL has had meetings with representatives of the Finnish Presidency, where we told them about our main demands and what opportunities we see for the Finnish Presidency to take during their mandate.
• We have also been engaging with the Beijing +25 process which is a very comprehensive and important part of our work.