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Wallström: EU president 'should be a woman'

Wallström: EU president 'should be a woman'

Published: 27 Oct 2009 07:53 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Oct 2009 07:53 GMT+01:00

Amid discussions by EU foreign ministers about the need for strong leadership, Swedish EU commissioner Margot Wallström has called for the appointment of a woman to serve as EU president.

"I think it should be a woman," Wallström said at a press conference in Luxembourg on Monday in response to a question about who might be appropriate for the as-yet-to-be-created position.

As the commissioner for institutional issues within the EU, Wallström’s portfolio includes the Lisbon Treaty which, once signed by the Czech president Vaclav Klaus, will create the post of EU president.

"Look at the names mentioned," she said, referring to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Balkenende.

"From a democratic point of view it reduces that 52.6 percent of women to a minority...and I don't think this is acceptable in the European Union of 2009. I think we have competent, good women that could be mentioned and nominated."

Former Irish president Mary Robinson ruled herself out of the running at the weekend, citing her interest in pursuing the fight against global warming.

Lithuania, however, suggested it could nominate the female ex-Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga.

Wallström’s current term as European Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy comes to an end on February 1st, 2010 and her future plans remain uncertain.

According to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper, Wallström is in negotiations with the United Nations over a possible high ranking position related to women’s rights.

In addition, Wallström’s Social Democratic colleagues back in Sweden are hoping that the popular politician will return home to help the party’s efforts to reclaim power in the 2010 Riksdag elections.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:06 October 27, 2009 by Essingen
As far as I am concerned, the EU President can be anyone at all ....as long as it isn't Tony Blair.
08:27 October 27, 2009 by Rick Methven
If Blair is elected then it would be George W Bush at the helm. God help us
08:51 October 27, 2009 by voiceofreason
Let the best person win (man or woman), an end to this discrimination.
09:03 October 27, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
@voiceofreason

Don't you know it is only discrimination if a woman does not get the job. If a woman gets the job ahead of better qualified men, then it is affirmative action.

Women like Wallström should be kept out of public office.
09:54 October 27, 2009 by spy
I say let the best man win.
10:08 October 27, 2009 by voiceofreason
Margereth Thatcher and Angela Merkel are some of my models, they aren't feminists but pragmatists. They get things done and that's why people loved them and vote for them.

Wallström (or whatever her name is) is one of those that have made a career of this kind of cheap politics. They have done nothing other than mess the whole polity and law system up.
11:06 October 27, 2009 by Dr. Dillner
How about this to cover all grounds: a gay, black, trans-gender, transvestite, Islamic Eskimo, who speaks Meänkieli.
11:48 October 27, 2009 by Scottish Boy
This woman is mental, it's obvious that we should be aiming to have a fish take on this responsible position. Fish are cruelly under represented in politics and indeed in all areas of European life.

It doesn't matter whether the fish in question is actually qualified for or even wants the position only that I can make a career out of pushing the fishy agenda.

Maybe I should phone the UN...
12:04 October 27, 2009 by sebseb
A monkey, but not Tony Blair. God help us...
12:05 October 27, 2009 by ladyontop
hahaha good one Scottish Boy !

I am a women and i say let the best candidate get it, women or men.

Maybe she is the one that complains the trafic sign ( for pedestrian crossing) looks like a man and should be changed into a female figure. Its just stupid!

If she doesn't have the best interest of the job at heart but just proposing this to balanced statistic, she shouldnt even hold a position, I hope her uncertain future will certainly not going to be in the service of public.
12:06 October 27, 2009 by Jan M
I'm always fascinated by statements like 'should be a woman'. Is this such a token position that gender is the over-riding issue? How about the best person for the job or would that concept offend the lobby that insists that gender balance is the only goal in life regardless of the consequences?
12:14 October 27, 2009 by zircon
A good idea: serve the Social Democrats better at home... The best candidate for the job, on a serious level should be the man or woman taking the EU into a new clean sheet of rule and balance. On a more playful level: let it be the Pliosaur!
12:38 October 27, 2009 by Britswedeguy
The people of Europe are overwhelmingly against Blair - listen to us!
12:39 October 27, 2009 by Nemesis
When it comes to president of Europe, we should all agree on one thing. Anyone but Tony Blair for president. He would probably attack Russia to create lebensrum and say god told him to do it. He is a religious, lunatic, sycophant, of the USA and should not be allowed any say in anything or have any position of power ever again. Giving him power is dangerous and would most likely lead to world war 3.

Tony Blair and his pet, Peter Mandelson should be deported from and permanetly banned from Europe. I would put both of them in uniform in Afghanisatan or Iraq, permanently and leave them there.

Margot Wallström would not make the grade required to be president. She is not up to the standard required.

Angela Merkel would make a good president for Europe. She is calm, very intelligent and thoughful. She knows how to work with the Russians and is very diplomatic.

Also Mary Robinson, would be a very good starter for president. Unlike all other Irish politicians, she is calm, uncoruptable, level headed, diplomatic, open minded and intelligent.

I actually can not think of a better first president for Europe than Mary Robinson. Mary Robinson's professionalism would create a level of expectation for the second president of Europe that would mean countries would have to rule out all lunatics, war mongers and religious extremists for president, such as Tony Blair, Berlusconi, etc.

OUt of all the candidates I can think of in Europe, male or female, Angela Merkel would would be second best and Mary Robinson would be the best of all for president of Europe.
14:17 October 27, 2009 by mkvgtired
Dr. Dillner, very true (and funny). She does not fall into that category so she would never propose such a thing. Her proposals have to be in line with her own self interests.
14:51 October 27, 2009 by Rebel
Is that a woman in the picture?
16:02 October 27, 2009 by jag2009
Tony Blair will be President of Europe.
17:30 October 27, 2009 by Scottish Boy
Ok I've regained my senses about the fish thing, it just wouldn't work.

Firstly I just want to say that I don't support the Labour party and never believed that Iraq had WMD's in 2003 or that the invasion was justified. I don' t believe that we are going to achieve a satisfactory situation in Afghanistan and it pains me to hear almost daily that another British soldier has been killed (along with all the other troops and the Afghans themselves).

But I do strongly object to accusations that if Blair was EU President he would somehow lead up eastwards to attack Russia and start World War 3 as one misguided and hysterical person has suggested, this is the 21st century and I am truly proud that we as Europeans no longer solve our problems that way. Oh and what's the problem with being religious, Blair has always made great effort not to discuss his religious beliefs in public. By all means express your views but please at least make them rational and based in fact.

Lets not forget that the British Conservative Party were also for the Iraq and Afghan wars so Blair was not alone in supporting it. I have a feeling that he knew if wasn't justified but that it was probably better to have UK forces there to try and stop the Yanks doing anything too stupid. As for Afghanistan what most people don't realise is that we are not just there to somehow bring truth and democracy to the Afghans but to largely prevent a destabilisation of Pakistan (a nuclear weapons state).

And yes Mary Robinson was a fantastic President of Ireland (I'm half Irish) but the position of EU president will wield a great deal of influence and power so I think we probably need someone with experience of high political office such as an ex prime minister and that would sadly rule Mary out.

Personally I would like the EU President to be someone from a smaller country in the same way that the UN Secretary General largely hails from a non first world country. Having said that it should be the best person for the job at the time.
18:59 October 27, 2009 by spy
I loathe British Labour party and try to hate Tony Blair, he will be judged for some terrible mistakes especially the fictional WMDs. However even I have a begrudging respect for him as there is no denying he is a statesman and has the experience to take the EU presidency.
19:18 October 27, 2009 by zircon
Mrs Wallstrom a man? I think she's got a slick mouth... I'd like to take her to Wall Street, where they keep all the dimes & cents; after that we can visit Tate's Art Gallery in London, and afterwards have coffee at a luxury Hotel... Just kidding.
20:28 October 27, 2009 by Dans
What about Emma Bonino? Does anyone of you know her? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Bonino She was EU Commissioner for Consumers, fisheries and Humanitarian Aid, and candidate to Italian Presidency of the Republic
21:11 October 27, 2009 by zircon
No. Ms Bonino is far too serious for the job. Why not someone more of a low profile public figure for EU President. And this time I'm not kidding. Magnificent would be a total 'innocent' woman or man, but not so unfamiliar, e.g. Anna Ford? At least we know what we'll get if men behave badly or indifferent at the top... Whash! That was her wine- glass...
22:21 October 27, 2009 by Scottish Boy
If your looking for comedy value how about Silvio Berlusconi, offer him freedom from prosecution as part of the job and I'm sure he'd be there like a shot. We could then change the EU anthem, who needs Beethoven's fantastic Ode to Joy when you could just play a random track from one of Berlusconi's CD's...

I wake up every morning and praise the Lord that Italy has no nuclear weapons, can you imagine that man with his finger on the button. I wouldn't trust him with a TV remote control or my 15 year old daughter (I don't technically have a daughter but you know what I mean).

Mind you I can't imagine an Italian pressing the launch button, it's too difficult to do that after all with your hands raised in surrender... ;)
09:03 October 28, 2009 by karex
I'm a woman, does that qualify me?

Seriously, whatever happened to the best qualified individual should hold a job? No wonder we get such incompetent poiticians. ANY reason for giving someone a position that is not based solely on qualifications is bordering on the ridiculous.

There are many reasons for women being in the minority in politics as well as in other areas (and yes, discrimination is one of them), however some areas/sectors just have far fewer women interested or getting involved.

Affirmative action in my opinion only serves to discriminate and waste our tax money on paying salaries to incompetents because "some quota" needs to be filled.

My two cents worth...
15:10 October 28, 2009 by eZee.se
You go to a govt. building or what ever work and are led in circles, why? the idiots there are not qualified to hold that position, give the individual who actually know the job the job... no matter if its a man, woman, white,black, grey, green, yellow, brown, monkey (or fish).

People like this Wallstrom irritate me, its like the feminists in America that were saying that every woman should vote for Hillary... or you should be ashamed of yourself.
19:39 October 28, 2009 by spy
The feminists have a legitimate grievance. But so does everyone else.
21:40 October 28, 2009 by Nemesis
For those of you supporting Blair, I think you should read this.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stopblair/signatures.html.How

A lot of people oppose him, for good reason. He is a war monger.
06:07 October 30, 2009 by Tutu
I put my money on Blair. I agree he made mistakes but who has done better for UK than him. He literary transformed UK politics from Thatcherrism to Blairism. Most European leaders now model after him.
10:50 October 30, 2009 by Osokin
4 world governments ... doesn't matter at all who the president of EU is going to be, is just a face.
14:42 October 30, 2009 by operareg
Loving these comments LOL! I would vote for the fish.

As an Irish woman, I would just like to say "Anyone but Tony Blair or Bertie Ahern or a token female." I thought we had progressed beyond the type of comment made by Ms Wahlstrom. Let the best qualified PERSON get the job.
11:47 November 1, 2009 by Beynch
That's right Wallström. Never mind qualifications or fitness for the job, as long as it's a woman! Jeez, I didn't think people could be this stupid! (And I don't use that term lightly)
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