Today, the Euro finance ministers in the Eurogroup agreed on a candidate to succeed Yves Mersch for the ECB executive board. The candidate is to be proposed tomorrow by the Council for Economic and Financial Affairs (ECOFIN) before being appointed by the European Council, following opinions from the European Parliament and the Governing Council of the ECB. The Member States had presented two male candidates for the post. The selected candidate is also expected to succeed Yves Mersch as Deputy Head of Banking Supervision at the ECB.
By proposing only one candidate on the basis of a men-only shortlist, the finance ministers are ignoring the European Parliament’s call for a gender-balanced shortlist. For appointments to the ECB’s executive board, the EU Parliament is only consulted, whereas for appointments to the Supervisory Board it has a binding veto right.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“We need equal numbers of male and female candidates in order to achieve more gender equality in top positions in the financial sphere. Instead of merely proposing men, the Council should finally follow Parliament’s demand and present a gender-balanced shortlist. A structural change in the selection processes is needed to finally make equal rights in top financial positions a reality. The ECB remains an extremely male-dominated institution despite the fact that it is headed by a woman. More open application processes would also help to put an end to the haggling for positions between the member states. Open application procedures lead to the selection of the best, rather than the best connected candidates.
The ECOFIN Council should re-launch the application process and propose suitable female candidates in addition to those who have been nominated. Otherwise, Parliament must reject the candidate following its plenary decision for more gender equality in top financial positions. At the latest when the candidate is appointed to the SSM supervisory board, the Parliament should use its veto and reject the candidate. Anything else would undermine the credibility of the European Parliament. This would however be regrettable, because the candidate now selected by the Eurogroup is highly qualified as a person. The Eurogroup is harming a good candidate by its insistence on a flawed procedure”.
Link to the resolution of the European Parliament on gender balance in filling top financial positions (see point 4): https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2019-0211_EN.html