A woman should be appointed to at least one of the three top EU jobs - heading the European Commission, European Parliament or Council of Europe - in 2009, EU commissioner Vladimir Spidla said in Brussels Thursday.
His comments shortly before International Women's Day marked a break in a taboo around a subject the Commission had avoided.
"In any case, one of the new vacancies coming up next year should go to a woman," Spidla - EU official responsible for among others, equal opportunities - was quoted by his spokeswoman as saying.
Observers noted that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has expressed a desire for a second term after the European election in the summer of 2009, making him favourite.
In addition, only men have been considered for the new post of European Council president.
Two of the 12 European Parliament speakers since the first European elections in 1979 have been women: Simone Veil (1979-1982) and Nicole Fontaine (1999-2002).
In January, EU commissioner Margot Wallstrom criticized the one- sided election of men, saying "men elect men."
In an article in the Swedish daily Sydsvenskan published in early February, Wallstrom speaking of choice of leading positions in the commission said "there is no procedure and it is completely dominated by men."
Wallstrom, who is vice president of the commission, said there were enough well-qualified women to play leading roles.
Spokespersons for the commission later characterized Wallstrom's statements as private opinions.
EU commissioner Viviane Reding meanwhile called for a repeal of the International Women's Day on May 8.
"As long as we have to celebrate a women's day, it means that we don't have equal rights," said Reding, who is responsible for media. "The goal is equal rights so that we no longer need such days."
The European Commission also criticized the lagging portion of women in leadership positions in business and politics. "Europe wide, women who make of 44 per cent of the employed population hold only 32 per cent of the leading positions (chief executive, director, manager in smaller companies)," it was announced.
Last Mod: 07 Mart 2008, 11:48