[Brussels, 1 December 2019] Today, the new European Commission takes office for the next 5 years, with commitments higher than ever before towards improving women’s rights in Europe. Led by Ursula von der Leyen, the first women President of the European Commission, the College of Commissioners is also, for the first time in history, close to achieving gender parity.
The European Women’s Lobby was particularly happy to see the repeated commitments from both President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli to concrete measures guaranteeing to improve women’s lives and experiences in Europe. One of the main priorities set out by the Commissioner is the adoption of a political Strategy for Equality between women and men. This Strategy – which was missing during the last five years – will show strong political will and commitment from the European Commission towards the realisation of a just, equal European Union for all women and allow concrete political action from the Member States.
The EWL has developed recommendations on this future strategy, having gathered input from all its members, ensuring its demands reflect the reality of women’s needs and experiences across Europe. We call on the EU to take concrete steps to protect women from all forms of violence - notably through the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention -, to ensure women’s economic independence, to promote equality in decision-making and leadership and to increase resources for women’s rights and women’s organisations.
The EWL also identified several important actions and measures the new European Commission should take to ensure gender mainstreaming through all areas of its work – as demanded by the Treaties (Article 8 TFEU). The EWL expects to see the new EC President’s commitment to women’s rights translated into all the EC political guidelines and all portfolios of the European Commissioners. To facilitate this, we would recommend the Commissioners to have compulsory expert-led trainings on equality between women and men, as well as an annual meeting around International Women’s Day in March.
The EWL hopes this new European Commission will show the political leadership needed to ensure women’s rights are a priority of the European Union. Action is urgently needed, and the EWL will continue to ask for concrete change for women across all of their diversity in the European Union!
The EWL wishes good luck to the new European Commission in their task and is looking forward to working together towards a feminist Europe, leaving no woman behind.