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Juncker seeks more women for new Commission

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Juncker seeks more women for new Commission

Jean-Claude Juncker - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - Jean Claude Juncker, the controversial nominee to take over the European Commission later this year, is worried at the lack of women being proposed by member states to join his team, a source said on Friday.

The current EU commission presided by Jose Manuel Barroso is staffed by nine women commissioners out of a total 28, but nominees put forward for the next commission fall far short of that ratio, a source close to Juncker told AFP.

Each government of the EU's 28 member states names a candidate for a commission job in Brussels, with the commission president only having a say over the portfolio and seniority given.

EU lawmakers are to vote July 15 on Juncker's nomination to take the helm of the powerful European Commission. He was picked by EU leaders last week despite bitter opposition by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

If Juncker passes the parliament hurdle later this month, he will submit a full line-up of 28 Commissioners to lawmakers in October, but the source said he is worried that only a handful of women will be on the list.

"Judging by the intentions of governments so far, he is afraid that he would be left with only two or three women on his team when he asks for parliament's confirmation in October," the source said.

"Parliament would understandably refuse the team on the basis of non-parity," the source said.

A week after Juncker's hard-fought nomination, horse-trading has begun in earnest to fill out the rest of the Commission that takes office in November, especially for the very coveted economic jobs.

The jockeying began last week with the pick of ex-Finnish premier Jyrki Katainen as interim Economic Affairs Commissioner to replace compatriot Olli Rehn, who left office early to take a seat in the European Parliament.

Germany and Austria quickly followed by renaming their current commissioner representatives, Guenther Oettinger and Johannes Hahn, both men.

Juncker is promising potential women candidates better chances of vice presidencies and important portfolios, the source said.

According to EU procedure, each of the 28 candidates for the Commission posts must plead their case in a Parliament hearing before the whole team is put to a final vote.


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