The brief: Gender balance makes steady progress, Tesco warns against no-deal Brexit

The brief: Gender balance makes steady progress, Tesco warns against no-deal Brexit
By Shoshana Dubnow
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Gender balance shows steady improvement in the EU. Tesco warns against no-deal Brexit. Macron forced to get behind a trade deal that's not favourable with French farmers. All this and more in Wednesday's Brief from Brussels.

Gender balance showing improvement in the EU


Ursula von der Leyen is the first ever woman to be nominated as European Commission president. Two out of the four EU top jobs are set to go to women, with Christine Lagarde being nominated to head up the European Central Bank.

Over in Strasbourg, 40 per cent of MEPs who took their seats this week are women. 

"I think it's important, but I think what's more important is just that they're clever and a charismatic person," said Lithuanian MEP Aušra Maldeikienė.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been arguably the leading political figure in Europe since 2005, and the UK has had two female prime ministers.

However, only five out of the EU's 28 countries are currently being led by women.

Despite gender balance in the top jobs being achieved, not all female MEPs believe the distribution of positions is fair.

"This time we have no problems with gender balance, but we have problems with geographical balance. There is nobody from eastern Europe, and this is sad," said Estonian MEP Yana Toom.

The European Women's Lobby said prioritizing gender balance has dragged the EU into the 21st century. They are calling on Von der Leyen to select at least an equal number of women and men into her commission.

Currently, only nine out of 28 EU commissioners are women.

Tesco warns against no-deal Brexit

Tesco, one of the major British retailers, is warning the UK against a no-deal Brexit in October.

CEO Dave Lewis said less storage capacity for stockpiling goods in the run up to Christmas could mean empty shelves in many stores.

Macron defends trade deal

French President Emmanuel Macron is being forced to defend the trade deal the EU has made with South America's Mercosur bloc.

Many French farmers are not in favour of the deal made with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

They fear unfair competition due to lower quality standards, especially in the meat sector.

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