The 27 European Union leaders — overwhelmingly men, as any group photo shows — will gather for a special summit this week to appoint a new full-time president of the Council. The negotiations are not over yet.
In an open letter to British business daily Financial Times, several high-powered European women officials said the bloc has talked the gender equality talk for long enough, and now it is time to walk the walk. What if the right man for the job is a woman? Current European Council Presidency Sweden called the summit soon after the Lisbon Treaty’s ratification was completed. The mood appears upbeat. Swedish Minister for European Affairs Cecilia Malmström, making preparations in Brussels said the aim behind all Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfelt’s telephone diplomacy was to have a proposal for Thursday. Optimistic of an agreement on Thursday night, Malmström said she supported one of the posts being held by a woman, but said too few women had been nominated. The leaders are also due to choose a powerful new foreign policy chief. The Lisbon reform treaty, meant to make the bloc function more efficiently will enter into force this 1 December. The top job considerations include north-south preferences, country sizes and on which side of the political centre the candidates stand.