Composition of supervisory boards: Von der Leyen wants EU-wide women’s quota

Status: 01/13/2022 10:20 a.m.

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen wants to revive an old legislative proposal after the change of government in Germany: She plans to impose a quota for women on the supervisory boards of listed companies in all EU countries.

After the change of government in Germany, EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen is hoping for a majority for a Europe-wide quota of women on the supervisory boards of large companies. As the “Financial Times” reports, a legislative proposal that was put on hold years ago could be revived. According to this, at least 40 percent of the supervisory boards of listed companies should be made up of women in the future. Small and medium-sized businesses should not be affected.

With the new traffic light coalition of the SPD, Greens and FDP there is hope that Germany will give up its resistance, said the CDU politician, according to the report. “It is time to take this dossier forward.” The background is a draft that was discussed ten years ago. Under the then EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, there was a corresponding initiative in 2012, which, however, was rejected by the federal government under the then Chancellor Angela Merkel (also CDU). At that time, only 15.6 percent of supervisory boards in Germany were women. There was no sufficient majority among the EU countries. At that time, von der Leyen was a member of Merkel’s cabinet as minister of labor and social affairs.

Von der Leyen is hoping for support from Berlin

The coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP does not contain any stipulations on the EU quota for women. In Germany, large companies have been legally obliged since 2015 to have at least 30 percent women on their supervisory boards. In addition, the former grand coalition of the Union and the SPD agreed on a quota for board members shortly before the summer break last year. The new federal government under Chancellor Olaf Scholz is now expected to vote for the European quota for women in the Council of EU heads of government. At most, the German liberals, it is said in circles of the Commission, should see this as a problem.

In addition to the change of government, the EU Commission is now also hoping for a tailwind from France, which has held the EU Council Presidency since January 1st. A gender quota was introduced in companies there in 2011, which has been 40 percent since 2017. Von der Leyen said the FT was ready to work with France to advance the directive during the government’s six-month EU presidency in Paris.

The EU Commission’s proposal, which has now been discussed again, does not include any sanctions for companies that do not comply with the quota. But you have to explain why you fail to meet the requirement. In addition, EU countries could impose penalties at national level. If there is now a majority among the EU countries, the European Parliament has to agree.

source site