Sven Giegold
Member of the European Parliament – Greens/EFA Group

Speaker of the German Green Delegation

New ECB Executive Board member: Eurogroup refuses gender-balanced selection procedure

On Monday 9 November, Dutchman Frank Elderson will appear before the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) for a hearing. Mr Elderson is to succeed Yves Mersch on the Executive Board of the ECB. Following the Eurogroup’s selection of Elderson as a candidate in early October, the Governing Council of the ECB signalled its agreement last week. After the hearing, the European Parliament will also make a recommendation on the candidate. The final decision will then be taken by the Council of Ministers which is not bound by the recommendations of the ECB and the Parliament. While Frank Elderson’s qualifications make him an excellent candidate, the selection procedure was unacceptable, particularly from the point of view of gender parity.

The hearing of Frank Elderson before the ECON Committee will take place on 9 November from 16:45 to 17:45 and can be followed here as a livestream. The questionnaire the candidate had to answer before the hearing can be found here. The vote in the Committee will then take place on 10 November.

With the nomination of Frank Elderson as the only candidate, the Eurogroup dismisses the European Parliament’s call for gender balance in top positions at EU financial institutions. In a strong resolution last year, the Parliament’s plenary decided that it always insists on a shortlist with at least one female and one male candidate. However, even when Mr Elderson was selected by the Eurogroup, there was only another male competitor, the Slovenian Boštjan Jazbec. Parliament is now presented with a fait accompli. We Greens will therefore reject Frank Elderson in the ECON Committee on formal grounds. Should the Council of Ministers nevertheless appoint him to the ECB’s Executive Board, he may be nominated Vice-Chair of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). This decision would then have to be approved by the European Parliament in a separate procedure including another hearing.

Frank Elderson is a strong candidate from a technical point of view. Since 2011 he has been head of banking supervision at the Dutch central bank. During his term of office, Mr Elderson pursued initiatives for a greener financial system. For example, he founded the Dutch “Sustainable Finance Platform”, which brings central bankers and finance ministers in contact with civil society organisations, and as co-founder he established the “Network for Greening the Financial System” of central banks and supervisory authorities.

MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group, commented:

“The Eurogroup is heading for confrontation with the European Parliament in filling the vacant position on the ECB’s Executive Board. The sole nomination of a male candidate undermines gender equality in the top positions of EU financial institutions. The Parliament has committed itself in a resolution to ignore one-sided candidate lists as a matter of principle. We Greens will therefore reject the candidate on formal grounds. This is not about the person, but about the credibility of the European Parliament as regards gender equality.

It is regrettable that the Eurogroup is damaging the selection procedure with its provocative stance. This puts a burden on a very good candidate without his own fault.”

 

———

Answers by Frank Elderson to the questionnaire of the ECON Committee:
https://sven-giegold.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Questionnaire-Frank-Elderson-final.pdf

Webstream of Frank Elderson’s hearing before the ECON Committee on Monday, 9 November from 16:45 to 17:45:
https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/committee-on-economic-and-monetary-affairs_20201109-1645-COMMITTEE-ECON-1_vd

European Parliament resolution: Gender balance in EU economic and monetary affairs’ nominations:
https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2019-0211_DE.html

———

P.S.: Webinar “Deregulation For Future” on financial regulation in the pandemic and beyond with top economists William White and Daniela Gabor. Tuesday, 10 November 2020, 8-10pm CET. Register here now!