The new European Commission should include sufficient women or risk being blocked by the European Parliament, warned Martin Schulz.. “Parliament will not accept a gentlemen’s club," the EP president said, addressing heads of state and government at the start of a Council summit on Wednesday 16 July dedicated to discussing candidates for top EU jobs.
Schulz called the Parliament’s election of Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission President on 15 July “a milestone”, saying the former prime minister of Luxembourg was now in a stronger position to meet the serious challenges ahead of the EU.
One of the challenges is to regain people’s confidence. “We shall listen to people, take their concerns seriously and work to improve their lives,” said Schulz. “That is precisely what politics is for: to make people’s lives better.” He added tackling youth unemployment should be the EU’s top priority.
Referring to the free-trade agreement with the US, Schulz said the Parliament would carefully follow the negotiations to ensure transparency and good results: “Negotiations behind closed doors will not gain the confidence either of the people or of parliamentarians.”
The EP president also called for action on tax evasion and tax avoidance: “Each year we are losing billions! That is money which we need for our children and older people, money that we want to invest in our infrastructure and research, schools and hospitals. The same principles must apply to large multinationals as to hardworking families and small businesses that pay their taxes honestly.”