“This time, it’s different” was the slogan used by the European Parliament in an attempt to get more people to vote in the elections. So different that 43.09% of the electorate voted, compared to 43% last time.
But how different will be the process of nominating European commissioners? The omens do not look good for an improvement in the gender balance of the European Commission.
In the four member states where the governments have already decided who their European commissioner will be, all four are men: Maroš Šefčovič in Slovakia, Andrus Ansip in Estonia, Karmenu Vella in Malta, and Valdis Dombrovskis in Latvia.
Of the nine women commissioners in the current college, it is hard to think of a single one who will be re-nominated. Among the vice-presidents, Catherine Ashton, Viviane Reding and Neelie Kroes (all of them returnees from Barroso I) will not be coming back.
Among the others, domestic politics are against Maria Damanaki, Connie Hedegaard and Androulla Vassiliou. Few expect Máire Geoghegan-Quinn or Kristalina Georgieva to be re-nominated. That leaves Cecilia Malmström as the only woman with a slim hope of returning.
So if you were the male president of the next Commission, considering how the next college would look different from the last, you would start at a disadvantage.
Speculation about likely commissioners in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom has not put women candidates to the fore, and it is the same story in Belgium and the Netherlands. This time, it’s not so very different.
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