Seven Days in Europe

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding had to shelve plans to introduce a directive that would make it mandatory for company boards to reserve 40% of their seats for women.

Despite facing opposition Reding tweeted that she will not give up, and that the matter will be on the Commission agenda again in November. She told press:

“We are fighting now for 100 years – so, one or two weeks more, what difference does that make? For me, what’s important is that a strong piece of legislation comes out of the Commission.”

According to the EC, less than 15% of board positions in member states are currently held by women. France, Spain, Italy and Belgium already have quotas in place, and Norway has had a 40% quota since 2003. The UK aims to have a minimum of 25% female members on FTSE 100 company boards by 2015.

This month’s list of infringement decisions was published by the EC, detailing which member states face legal action for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law. Italy was criticised for its hundreds of illegal landfills and uncontrolled waste tips and faces fines. The UK was requested to review its provisions for inheritance tax on spouses due to the different treatment for non-domiciled spouses and civil partners, or there will be a reference made to the CJEU.

Greece’s finance minister announced that the country had been granted the two-year extension it had sought to meet the spending cut targets demanded of it in order to receive the next tranche of its bailout. However, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted as saying that this was merely speculation on Greece’s part, and that as far as the Federal Finance Ministry and the German government are concerned, there were no new developments.

The Commission saw fit to write responses to newspaper articles such as “EU elf ‘n safety tsars ban jam sales at fetes” and “Anger spreads over EU fines threat for reusing old jam jars”.  The letters state the actual legal position:

“This is all completely untrue. There are no EU laws, new or old, which ban re-using old jam jars for fetes. The EU also has no powers to fine people.”

The European Parliament pledged support to workers that have been made redundant in certain industries that were particularly affected by the global recession. The Globalisation Adjustment Fund will offer support with training, looking for new work or launching new companies to those who had been workers in car manufacturing, shipbuilding, construction and pharmaceuticals in certain member states.

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