Wallström blasts EU as "boys' club"

AFP - [email protected]
Wallström blasts EU as "boys' club"

European Commission Vice President Margot Wallström said in a Swedish newspaper interview on Friday that she was tired of male politicians bargaining over top EU jobs in secret back-room discussions.


"It's terrible that people see male politicians sitting behind closed doors and cooking up secrets. That old men choose old men," Wallström told southern Swedish daily Sydsvenskan.

Heated discussions were already underway about who to nominate to the new positions of EU president and foreign minister, called for by the Lisbon Treaty, said Wallström. This was despite the fact that only five out of 27 member states have so far agreed to ratify the charter.

"It is incredible that only men are mentioned (as appropriate candidates for top European Union jobs) and that everything happens behind the scenes," she said.

Among those mentioned for the new top positions are Britain's former prime minister Tony Blair, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and the chairman of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker.

"There is no procedure and it is completely male-dominated," Wallström insisted.

Although she herself holds one of the Commission's most prestigious jobs, she said there was no doubt the EU was a "boys' club".

"Just look at the 'family photos' from EU top meetings. There are virtually only men lined up. My God! Humanity is in fact made up of 50 percent women," she pointed out.

That no women's names had been floated for the new EU positions did not mean there were no qualified women for the jobs, Wallström insisted.

She named former Irish president Mary Robinson, Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Italian parliamentarian Emma Bonino as examples.

She told Sydsvenskan however that she herself was not interested in any new high-level political position, whether in Brussels or back home in Sweden.

"It is difficult to be in the spotlight. I know what it means to sacrifice things. It is becoming more and more exhausting. I really don't want to do this anymore. That's the way I feel now," Wallström said.


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