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Future EU budget need to support women’s rights and gender equality, say experts and MEPs

[Brussels, 26 January 2012] Gender-budgeting methods can be applied to the EU budget, but a gender equality perspective is absent from the Commission’s proposals for the EU multi-annual financial framework 2014-2020, reveals a study unveiled at the European Parliament.

The study, commissioned by the Women’s Rights Committee with the view of feeding into the EP’s discussions on the next MFF and its financial instruments, was discussed in a workshop on 26 January.

The study confirms the European Women’s Lobby’s analysis (see EWL, WIDE and CONCORDE statement on the MFF 2014-2020 and EWL statement on the proposed funding programmes in the field of Justice). Cuts are planned to the overall funding for equality and fundamental rights; there is no dedicated specific funding for gender equality; and the increased flexibility within funding programmes may lead to further reallocation away from gender equality. While EU spending for employment and social policies is foreseen to increase, this spending may not benefit women and men equally, due to a lack of gender perspective and focus on predominantly male sectors.

MEP Zuber: MFF must contain dual approach to gender equality

The workshop provided an opportunity for MEPs, gender experts and stakeholders to discuss the Commission’s proposals for the MFF and the financing instruments, and to reflect on how the Parliament could improve the proposals by bringing in the missing gender perspective.

Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), the draftsperson of the FEMM Committee opinion on the MFF 2014-2020, opened the workshop by emphasising that, in the context of the crisis, the EU must prioritise investment in equality, social development and rights of the citizens.

Ms Zuber stressed that gender mainstreming - obligation of the EU by the Treaties - and specific resource allocation for promoting gender equality must go hand in hand and that the dual approach should be the rule in all key financial instruments of the MFF 2014-2020. In addition, the debate about the MFF should be used to introduce gender-budgeting in the EU budgetary process. She also highlighted that civil society actors promoting gender equality must continue to receive funding from the European Commission in the new funding period.

Experts assess financial instruments from a gender perspective

The five gender experts who contributed to the study took the floor and examined the proposed MFF 2014-2020 and its financial instruments by using a gender budgeting methodology.

The experts assessed who benefits from the proposed interventions, and how the future EU budget will be divided between the different instruments and priorities and what impact the proposals will have on gender equality. Their analysis focused on women’s economic independence, education, health and environment, fundamental rights, and external relations.

Read the full study ’The Multi-annual Financial Framework (2014-20) from a Gender Equality Perspective’ here.

You can also watch the workshop online.

Read here the FEMM Committee working document on the MFF 2014-2020.

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