Rats vs. Snakes

Marko Bohaček, Minister of France

Marko Bohaček, Minister of France

Dominik Hüller, Minister of Portugal

On Friday, the Council had to deal with the Directive on improving gender balance among non-executive directors of listed companies. After Commissioner Treml had outlined the proposal, ministers presented their opening statements. France immediately took a strong stance for the quotas, even wanting to expand the 40 per cent quotas to other executive boards, other members like Estonia agreed that “progress can only be achieved at EU-level.”

“Deeply worried“

But there was another, more conservative, coalition led by Portugal. Portugal’s minister Dominik Hüller argued, implementing this quota would be an act of “combatting rats with snakes”, and was no sustainable solution. The UK-minister even got so far as be “deeply worried about the subsidiarity placed in the European Law”. Friday evening, Hüller and his French colleague Marko Bohaček presented the results of the debates. Portugal had built a strong coalition in favour of a minimum quota of 33 per cent and flexible quotas in the member states. “That was the essential amendment that Portugal brought in“, Hüller said. After several rounds of debate, though, the coalition quickly dissolved into a few members.

“The argument can be crushed“

“We hope that during the evening and in the morning, they will get back to their original opinions,” Hüller said. Bohaček remained strong on the subject adding: “The arguments can be crushed by saying: You don’t have the majority.”
And as investigative jEUrnal-reporter Alessia Giorgiutti, who has had access to the Council this morning, found out: Bohaček was right. His amendments on the expansion of the quota to executive boards passed. Portugal’s amendment on the other hand was struck down by an overwhelming majority of countries like France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Greece and many more. In the end, it seems, Hüller did not realize the snakes were hiding in his own coalition.

Dominik Hüller, Minister of Portugal
By Levin Wotke and
Alessia Giorgiutti

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