Today, July 8, the plenary of the European Parliament voted on Francois-Louis Michaud as a candidate for the position of Executive Director of the European Banking Authority (EBA). Michaud was approved with 343 votes in favour, 296 against and 56 abstentions. Greens voted against both on committee and plenary level, because the EBA had presented a shortlist of only one male candidate. In a resolution of March 2019, the Parliament had demanded gender-balanced shortlists for top positions in financial institutions of at least one man and one woman. At committee level, Michaud had been rejected on July 3 by a narrow majority (24 no, 23 yes, 10 abstentions) due to the lack of gender balance. The vote in the responsible committee served as a recommendation for the final vote in plenary. The previous candidate, Gerry Cross, was rejected by the European Parliament because of extensive lobbying activities in the past.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“Parliament’s approval of Michaud as EBA executive director is a blow for gender balance in EU top financial positions. After having called for gender balanced shortlists in its own resolution last year, Parliament today gave up on its own principles, undermining its credibility. EU financial institutions and agencies continue to be predominantly headed by men, with numbers even worsening in the last years. Michaud’s commitment to a women’s promotion programme is good, but is more suitable for middle management than for top positions. For top-positions, it requires equal opportunities in terms of gender balanced proposals. We will continue to strive for Parliament to finally stick to its word and reject any future shortlists which do not equally represent men and women. Given that our rejection was based on purely formal grounds unrelated to the candidate, we congratulate Francois-Louis Michaud to his approval today and are looking forward to a constructive cooperation with him as EBA executive director.”
Link to the 2019 resolution on gender balance in EU economic and monetary affairs’ nominations: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2019-0211_EN.html