EWL News

Stakes are high for the current Trio Presidency of the EU

[Brussels, July 2020] - This early July 2020, the countries which will be holding the Presidency of the European Council for the next 18-months have released their priorities on equality between women and men. The declaration of this so-called “Trio Presidency” defines the road map on the topic for Germany, Portugal and Slovenia in their role at the head of the rotating presidency of the EU from July 2020 to end of 2021. This Declaration is of utmost importance for the European Women’s Lobby which has been working towards a Feminist Europe for 30 years monitoring implementation of commitments taken by EU institutions and EU Member States to advance equality between women and men.

The EWL would like to thank Germany, Portugal and Slovenia for this set of ambitious commitments and would like to welcome in particular the emphasis put on gender mainstreaming and the need to include a woman’s perspective in all actions of the EU. We can not agree more and we want to stress that this needs to start right now: with the policies and funds designed for the EU to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Women and girls in Europe count on Germany in particular to lead on a recovery plan which will equally benefit women and men, girls and boys. The EWL also agrees that it is high time for the EU to give a space for EU Ministers to discuss advancement of equality between women and men in a formal Council formation.

The EWL would also like to praise the Trio Presidency for putting the Women on Boards Directive back on the EU agenda. Equal representation of women in all decision-making areas is key and this Directive is crucial to ensure equal access of women to full economic independence throughout the EU. On that note, EWL also welcomes the strong commitment of the Trio Presidencies to work to close the gender pay, employment, pension and care gaps. We call on them to approach social and economic inequalities faced by women more holistically through the adoption of a Care Deal for Europe which should include binding measures but also increased resources to the care economy and women’s frontlines services.

We also very much welcome the commitment made by the three countries to the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention is the most advanced international tool to fight male violence against women and girls and it is imperative the EU raises up to the challenge by ratifying the Convention, but also by adopting a comprehensive EU legislation on all forms of violence against women and girls. The phenomenon aggravated during lockdown in most EU countries should be of utmost concern for all European leaders who need to act in a concerted way.

The EWL would also like to join the Trio Presidency in calling for support and implementation at the national level of the Gender Equality Strategy released in March by the European Commission. This plan of action is all more relevant now that the COVID-19 crisis has rendered very visible the persistent inequalities between women and men in Europe.

All the above are long-standing recommendations of the EWL and we are pleased to see that the Trio Presidency has heard the call from EWL members, in particular in Germany, Portugal and Slovenia. EWL has been pushing for years for an ambitious EU agenda on equality between women and men which must ensure a specific woman’s perspective is adopted in all actions of the EU.

As we just entered the German Presidency of the EU, we have high hopes for the largest country of the EU to accelerate progress for women’s rights. The stakes are high with the deep consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and the need to ensure the next 7 years budget of the EU benefits women as much as men. EWL and its members will be there to support and participate in all key events of the Presidencies, but will also monitor that the commitments set out in this Declaration become reality for all women in the EU.

Picture credit: Bundesregierung

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EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

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