The Trio Presidency and the EESC reaffirm the urgency of further action.

JS – 08/2020

July this year, the German Federal Minister for Women's Affairs, Dr Franziska Giffey, together with her Portuguese counterpart, Mariana Vieira da Silva, and her Slovenian counterpart, Janez Cigler Kralj, signed the declaration for more gender equality in Europe.

In this declaration, the three Member States commit themselves to work closely together in the field of gender equality. Among other things, they pursue the goal of mitigating the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for women. In addition, the EU-wide support system for women affected by violence is to be expanded. They also advocate reducing the gender pay gap in Europe and changing gender stereotypes and role models.

Germany, Portugal and Slovenia form the current trio presidency from July 2020 to summer 2021. With the joint programme they focus on important, common concerns.

EU Commission’s Strategy for Gender Equality 2020-2025

The gender pay gap is an important aspect of the EU Commission's Strategy for Gender Equality 2020-2025 (see News April 2020). The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has now called for the EU Commission to update its five-year strategy for equality and implement it without delay in order to prevent the pandemic from increasing inequality between women and men.

The EESC is an advisory body that provides a formal platform for representatives of Europe's economic and social groups and others to express their views on EU issues. Its opinions are addressed to the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament.

"With COVID-19, women are increasingly threatened by violence, poverty, multiple forms of discrimination and economic dependence. The strategy should be implemented without delay in order to prevent women from continuing to pay the price of the pandemic," said Giulia Barbucci, who prepared the EESC statement.

The crisis has once again highlighted the gender pay gap, which in some cases is blatant. The EESC therefore welcomes the Commission's announcement to introduce binding measures on the transparency of gender pay as early as this year.

Another persistent shortcoming is the unequal participation of men and women in decision-making. The EESC therefore calls for continued discussion of the directive on improving gender equality on company boards.

The Trio Presidency can take this forward

The directive was already presented by the Commission in 2012, but has not yet been adopted by the Council; including Germany. In presenting the programme of the German Council Presidency to the European Parliament at the beginning of July, Minister Giffey now declared that the adoption of the directive should be pushed forward in the EU.