European Database: Women in Decision-making

The Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union is the central decision-making body of the EU. It is composed of representatives at ministerial level from each Member State with changing portfolios according to theme of meeting. It is not possible to give data on who participates in the Councils, because the ministers' attendances vary according to the subject discussed.

The European Council is - per definition - composed of the heads of state, heads of government, foreign affairs ministers, the President of the Commission and one further member of the Commission. However, due to the differences in political systems throughout the Member States there is no consistent rule of participation. There are MS sending both head of state and head of government, whereas others may be represented either by their head of state or the head of government. In many cases only for high summits both representatives will attend.

The database aims to list women serving in these positions. Currently two heads of state in the EU are women.

President Tarja Halonen - Finland
President Mary McAleese -Ireland

The heads of state of Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are female, yet their position is legitimized by birth and not by political elections.

The Ministries of the Exterior of Luxembourg, Sweden and Austria are headed by women:

Minister Lydie Polfer - Luxembourg
Minister Anna Lindh - Sweden
Minister Benita Maria Ferrero-Waldner - Austria

The Council of the European Union online: http://ue.eu.int/


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