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

Speaker of the German Green Delegation

Success for gender equality in EU finance top positions: ECON committee voted against candidate for EBA executive director

Yesterday evening on 2 July the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) of the European Parliament voted by a narrow majority (24 no, 23 yes, 10 abstentions) against the candidate for the position of Executive Director of the European Banking Authority (EBA), Francois-Louis Michaud. The results have just been announced. The vote in the committee responsible serves as a recommendation for the final vote in plenary next Wednesday. Should Michaud also be rejected in plenary, EBA will have to post a new vacancy notice and finally propose to Parliament a shortlist of at least one woman and one man. We Greens, together with key representatives of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, had previously spoken out against the candidate. Today’s vote is a success in the fight for more gender equality in filling top positions in EU financial institutions.

With the nomination of Michaud, the EBA Board of Supervisors has once again rejected the European Parliament’s plenary call for a gender-balanced shortlist for top financial positions in EU institutions. This position was set by the Parliament in a strong resolution last year. We Greens voted against the candidate in committee for formal reasons and will do so in plenary next week. It is not about the person of the candidate, but about the credibility of the European Parliament in terms of equal rights. Parliament will lose its credibility if it accepts further men-only nominations and does not insist on its own principle of gender equality. With its men-only nominations, the EBA’s Board of Supervisors ultimately also harms candidates who are rejected on formal grounds. In the European supervisory system only two of nine top positions are filled by women.

The Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, Evelyn Regner, together with the Socialist, Liberal and Green committee coordinators, had written a letter to all members of the ECON Committee asking them to reject Michaud as the candidate for EBA Executive Director on formal grounds in the ECON Committee for reasons of gender equality.

Michaud’s commitment to a women’s promotion programme is good, but is more suitable for middle management than for top positions. These are in fact filled on the basis of a proposal from the EBA Board of Supervisors, over which the Executive Director has no influence. For the top positions, the only thing that will help is gender-balanced shortlists, and we will insist on these. In any case, there is no shortage of qualified female candidates for the positions.

The previous candidate, Gerry Cross, was rejected by the European Parliament because of extensive lobbying in the past. At the same time, the Parliament had confirmed three male candidates for the SRB against the votes of the Greens. We had voted against the candidates because of the lack of gender balance.

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

With green European greetings,
Sven Giegold

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Letter by Evelyn Regner to the members of the ECON-Committee:

Dear Members,
Dear Colleagues,

we would like to draw your attention to today’s vote on the Tinagli report on the appointment of François-Louis MICHAUD as Executive Director of the European Banking Authority in the ECON Committee. Due to the reasons laid out below we strongly suggest to vote against this appointment.

We are facing a lack of gender-balanced compositions in nearly every single board of European authorities in the context of economic and monetary affairs – this needs to change.

Last year, the board of supervisors of EBA presented a shortlist of 3 candidates, including Gerry Cross, Francois-Louis Michaud and one woman [name deleted here for reasons of confidentiality] for the position of Executive Director of the European Banking Authority. In ECON coordinators, expressed a preference for [the female candidate], but the Board of the supervisors of the EBA ignored Parliaments’ preference and nominated Mr. Cross. Later on, Gerry Cross was rejected in Plenary in January this year. After the rejection of Mr Cross, the Parliament was calling on EBA to re-open the selection process and come forward with a gender-balanced proposal. With the nomination of only a male candidate, EBA is again ignoring our demands – disrespecting the European Parliament as a whole.

This goes against the European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on gender balance in EU economic and monetary affairs nominations. The adopted text reads: “Calls on the governments of the Member States, the European Council, the Council, the Eurogroup and the Commission to actively work towards gender balance in their upcoming proposals for shortlists and appointments, endeavouring to include at least one female and one male candidate per nomination procedure.”

We are therefore convinced that the ECON Committee should reject Mr Michaud on formal grounds and once more insist on a gender balanced short list.

With warm regards,

Evelyn Regner, Chair of the FEMM Committee
Alice Kuhnke, FEMM Coordinator the Greens/EFA
Maria Noichl, FEMM Coordinator S&D
Samira Rafaela, FEMM Coordinator RENEW