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Debates
Thursday, 22 October 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition

Gender Equality in EU’s foreign and security policy (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Ernest Urtasun, rapporteur. – Mr President, I’m very pleased to be presenting today, with my dear colleague Hannah Neumann, the first ever European Parliament report outlining all the political, institutional and funding aspects needed for the achievement of gender equality in EU foreign and security policy.

In light of the current global challenges, like the climate emergency and growing trends towards authoritarianism, where women and girls are the most impacted, the need for a gender-based EU foreign and security policy becomes more urgent than ever. Following the example of a number of countries, we want the EU and its institutions to follow a similar path. The EU has taken already some important steps in this direction, like the Gender Action Plans I and II or the women, peace and security agenda. However their implementation still displays a number of shortcomings.

In the report we present several recommendations to be considered in the upcoming new Gender Action Plan 2021-25 that will be published shortly. Starting with political representation and participation in decision-making processes, we ask for a gender quota of 50% at all levels of the Commission and EEAS management by 2024, including heads of delegation and heads of CSDP missions. Mandatory training courses on gender equality, with special attention to middle and upper managers of the EEAS and heads of CSDP missions and operations, should also be introduced.

More resources need to be assigned to the EEAS Principal Advisor on Gender to continue and reinforce her work. Therefore, we call on the High Representative to continue his efforts in this area by appointing a full-time gender adviser in each EEAS directorate and to establish gender focal points in all EU delegations. We also need to increase the efficient use of existing and future EU resources through gender responsive budgeting.

As we negotiate at the moment the proposed neighbourhood development and international cooperation instrument we should make gender mainstreaming and targeted actions clear objectives under that regulation and ensure that partners can count on sufficient political and financial support to implement it.

At the same time the EU needs to dedicate efforts to monitor the backlash against gender equality and LGBTIQ+ rights in the world, promote the human rights of women and protect women human rights defenders. In particular, sexual and reproductive health and rights are being threatened inside the EU but also outside; particularly, in crisis zones, women and girls are exposed to sexual violence, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual exploitation and rape as a weapon of war. Therefore, we call on the EU and its Member States to take steps to protect women and their sexual rights in their humanitarian aid response, as well as access to justice.

The year 2020 marks the anniversary of several key events: the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the 14th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration on women’s rights. The EU’s role has been crucial in advancing on all these milestones, but it needs to stand out now in its commitment to make gender equality a priority in its foreign and security policy. I hope this report will contribute to achieving this goal and I would like to thank all the colleagues, also some of them present here in the room, for their support and their cooperation in achieving that draft report.

 
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