Press Releases S&Ds want more gender equality through the EU budget

S&Ds want more gender equality through the EU budget

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament today held a webinar on ‘Gender mainstreaming in the EU budget’, with the participation of the European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli. They discussed how to ensure that EU funds benefit men and women equally, and the implementation of this equality principle as a horizontal policy throughout all areas financed by the EU budget.

The S&Ds deplore that only 21.7% of EU programmes had gender-related indicators in the last pluriannual EU budget for the period 2014-2020.  This means equality was only written into about €236 billion out of the total €1087 billion in the EU budget, according to S&D MEP Margarida Marques, the host of the webinar and the European Parliament’s negotiator with the other EU institutions for the new pluriannual EU budget. The S&D parliamentarians will monitor how the €1.8 trillion of the EU budget and the Next Generation EU recovery package are spent on policies that promote gender equality during the new period 2021-2027.

Among the speakers at the webinar were the Swedish S&D MEP and vice-president, Heléne Fritzon; the Director General for Budget in the European Commission, Gert Jan Koopman; the Austrian S&D MEP and chair of the European Parliament’s committee on women’s rights and gender equality, Evelyn Regner; and different experts on this field from the OECD and EIGE.

Heléne Fritzon, Swedish S&D MEP and vice-president of the S&D Group, said:

“The EU’s resources must be allocated to promote gender equality and equal opportunities for all women and girls to enjoy their human rights.

“Despite being a fundamental value of the EU, enshrined in the treaties, gender equality has not yet been achieved in practice. We, the Socialists and Democrats, will continue to fight for an EU that fully commits to this cause and translates all commitments into concrete policies and allocation of resources. The budget is not only an important tool for gender equality. It is necessary that we use gender budgeting if we want to realise our objectives and build a strong and sustainable Europe. Gender equality is not just a women’s issue – it benefits everyone and our society.”

Margarida Marques, Portuguese S&D MEP and negotiator on the EU’s next pluriannual budget, said:

“Gender equality is declared a key policy in the European Union. The European budget is the most effective instrument for turning words into actions. The S&D Group wants to see gender equality enshrined not only as a horizontal principle but as a practice in all European policies.  The S&D Group made it clear we want it applied in the current pluriannual budget of the EU for the period 2021-2027. We will do everything necessary to make this commitment a reality. The European Commission has still to develop a methodology for the application of gender mainstreaming in the EU budget. It’s unacceptable that in the previous EU budget for 2014-2020 only 21.7 % of EU programmes had gender-related indicators –  €236 billion out of the €1087 billion! We want to make sure we know how the €1.8 trillion of the EU budget and the Next Generation EU are spent in policies that promote gender equality and reduce bad practices in this field.

“Today’s webinar proved once again how the EU can lead in the global debate on the place of girls and women in society, provided we as European decision-makers play our role and  appropriate methodology is urgently developed by the Commission for this purpose.”

Evelyn Regner, Austrian S&D MEP and chair of the European Parliament’s committee on women’s rights and gender equality, said:

“Gender mainstreaming has to be lived every single day and in every single policy. And although the European Union has been spearheading much-needed steps forward on this, its own finances do not yet reflect this enough. It is thanks to our persistent S&D negotiators on the EU budget and on the Recovery and Resilience Facility that gender mainstreaming is today a guiding principle in these matters. But still the European Commission has to step up in the implementation and make gender budgeting a go-to rule, never overlooked or overruled. The debate today highlighted many ways in which this is possible in practice and coming from Vienna, where gender budgeting has been state of the art for over 15 years, it is clear to me that now is the time for action. The Multiannual Financial Framework, the Recovery and Resilience Facility and any other financial resource has to finally take gender into account.”

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