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Procedure for appointment of the new EU Commissioner from the Netherlands and gender equality

Question écrite de Mme Lara WOLTERS - Commission européenne


Subject: Procedure for appointment of the new EU Commissioner from the Netherlands and gender equality

Following the departure of Frans Timmermans, Vice-President, the Netherlands Government has nominated a new Commissioner: Wopke Hoekstra. That is striking. One of the Commission’s priorities is to foster and improve gender equality. Accordingly, in the run-up to the Commission’s term of office and when Commissioners have had to be replaced, it has been consistently requested that both a male and a female candidate be nominated. That has not happened in this instance.

1. Why, as part of the process of appointing a new EU Commissioner from the Netherlands, has the Commission opted not to ask the Netherlands to nominate both a woman and a man?

2. How are the principles of transparency, democratic oversight and gender equality being safeguarded in this process?

3. Should it not be precisely the Commission that sets a good example regarding gender equality in the institutions by giving men and women equal opportunities?

We would welcome your reply at the latest before Mr Hoekstra’s hearing in Parliament.

Submitted: 31.8.2023

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 1 octobre 2023

Answer given by President von der Leyen on behalf of the European Commission (2 October 2023)

The nomination of Members of the College is governed by Article 17(4) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which states that: ‘The Commission (...) shall consist of one national of each Member State (...)’.

During a preliminary process of the nomination of a candidate as member of the Commission, the President of the Commission is consulted by the Member State and may express, in that context, certain criteria or preferences. The responsibility to select a candidate to be appointed, however, belongs to the concerned Member State.

Nevertheless, gender balance is indeed an aspect that President von der Leyen has taken into account in the past and will continue to take into account in the future, should any further changes in the College be necessary.

From the moment President von der Leyen accepted the responsibility to become President of the European Commission, she made achieving a gender-equal society a cornerstone of the Commission’s agenda. This is reflected both in her political guidelines (1) and in the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 (2).

Gender-balanced leadership is a key pillar of the strategy, and the Commission does strive to lead by example on this matter. President von der Leyen has been proud to lead during this mandate the first-ever gender-balanced College of Commissioners.

1 ∙ ⸱ https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/62e534f4-62c1-11ea-b735-01aa75ed71a1

2 ∙ ⸱ https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/gender-equality/gender-equality-strategy_en



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