Following the hearing of Helena Dalli, the Commissioner-designate for Equality, the S&D Group expressed its full support for her commitment to fight for a fair and a feminist Europe, free of discrimination of any type. As a strong feminist and devoted advocate of LGBTI rights and as former Minister for European Affairs and Equality in Malta, Dalli is the right person to implement an ambitious agenda on the crucial fight for gender equality in the EU.
Heléne Fritzon, MEP and S&D vice-president responsible for a new social Europe of equality, cohesion, and strong rights, said:
"The applause following the hearing spoke for itself. Helena Dalli has a proven record of fighting against inequality and different types of discrimination in Malta. Having listened to her today, we are confident she will do a great job in Brussels too. We are particularly glad she committed today to set out an ambitious EU gender equality strategy as soon as possible. The Socialists and Democrats have been calling for this strategy for a long time.
“After reaching parity in the Commission college, under our pressure, we must now ensure that the fight for gender equality is mainstreamed horizontally in all EU policy areas and in all Commission action, coordinated by Helena Dalli.”
Maria Noichl, MEP and S&D coordinator in the committee on women's rights and gender equality added:
“During today's hearing we, as S&Ds, made clear what the next 5 years should be about: no back-sliding, no hesitation, just real and steady progress on gender equality. While other political groups were much less ambitious, we used this opportunity to call for the swift revival and adoption of the Women on Boards Directive as well as the so-called Anti-discrimination Directive and the ratification of the Istanbul Convention to eliminate violence against women.
“Today's hearing was a forecast on what could be possible with a strong and socialist European Commissioner for Equality: starting with a coherent and ambitious strategy for gender equality, tackling persisting inequalities through a holistic approach, fighting backlashes and defending women's rights in the EU. We are confident that as Commissioner, Helena Dalli will put equality at the core of European policies and make sure the EU once again becomes a motor for gender equality.”
Agnes Jongerius, MEP and S&D coordinator in the committee on employment and social affairs, added:
“Closing the gender pay and pension gap was a major promise during the election campaign and I am certain Ms. Dalli will deliver upon it. She demonstrated her experience in this field, as she knows just raising awareness is not enough. Therefore, I am glad she committed to legislative measures on binding pay-transparency. We are looking forward for the first concrete proposals in the first 100 days of the new Commission. Europeans must receive equal pay, for equal work, at the same place.
“Today, we also received reassurances concerning the strict implementation of the recently adopted Work-Life Balance Directive. Now we have to go further. The Directive should be extended in scope to cover maternity leave as well as the rights of self-employed workers and adoptive parents.
“Last but not least, Ms. Dalli is also determined to improve the situation of about 100 million Europeans with disabilities, including many older citizens. With the new European disability strategy we must become the world’s frontrunners for the rights of people with disabilities.”