Parliamentary questions
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10 September 2020
Question for oral answer O-000054/2020
to the Council
Rule 136
Irène Tolleret, Nathalie Loiseau, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Sylvie Brunet, Sophia in 't Veld, Samira Rafaela
on behalf of the Renew Group
 Subject: The need for a dedicated Council configuration on gender equality

Gender equality has been enshrined in the European treaties since 1957. Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) states that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work and authorises positive action to empower women. Article 153 of the TFEU allows the EU to act in the wider area of equal opportunities and equal treatment in matters of employment and occupation. Article 19 of the TFEU enables the adoption of legislation to combat all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of sex.

Today, the EU has strong challenges to face in the field of women’s rights and gender equality: eradicating all forms of violence against women, closing the gender pay gap between women and men, improving women’s access to the labour market, increasing women’s representation in politics and ensuring respect for and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the EU has recently adopted a new Gender Equality Strategy.

While Commissioner Helena Dalli is exclusively responsible for Equality and the European Parliament has a committee dedicated to Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, there is no specific Council configuration on gender equality and ministers and secretaries of state in charge of gender equality have no dedicated forum for discussion.

In its conclusions ‘Gender-Equal Economies in the EU: The Way Forward’ adopted on 10 December 2019, the Council stresses that ‘while old challenges remain, new ones are emerging. Objectives set for gender equality have not been fully achieved’ and calls on the Commission and the Member States to ‘strengthen gender equality [...] by actively promoting high-level political dialogue on gender equality issues at EU level, and at the highest political level’.

In accordance with the Council’s Rules of Procedure, the European Council establishes the Council configurations. Against this backdrop:

1. Does the Council acknowledge that a configuration on gender equality gathering ministers and secretaries of state in charge of gender equality is needed in order to deliver common and concrete measures to address the challenges in the field of women’s rights and gender equality?

2. Will the Council commit to establishing a Council configuration on gender equality without delay, in order to ensure that gender equality issues are discussed at the highest political level?

Submitted: 10/09/2020

Lapses: 11/12/2020

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