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Brussel, 17 december 2010

Commissie lanceert nieuwe gelijkekansenstrategie

De Europese Commissie is vandaag van start gegaan met een nieuwe strategie voor gelijke kansen voor de periode tot 2014. Bedoeling is voort te bouwen op de aanzienlijke vooruitgang die de voorbije jaren is geboekt. De strategie is gebaseerd op drie hoofdbeginselen: aantrekken, ontwikkelen en behouden van een evenwichtig personeelsbestand; bevorderen van een flexibelere werkomgeving; eigen verantwoordelijkheid voor de strategie op het hoogste niveau. Er zullen nieuwe streefwaarden worden vastgesteld voor het aantal vrouwen op leidinggevende posten (midden‑ en hoger management) en voor de aanwerving van vrouwen als administrateur (AD‑posten). Elke dienst van de Commissie zal zijn eigen actieplan moeten opstellen om de streefwaarden te bereiken en het directoraat‑generaal Personele middelen zal de uitvoering daarvan regelmatig controleren.

"We hebben reeds aanzienlijke vooruitgang geboekt in het bevorderen van gelijke kansen in de Commissie. Sedert 1995 is het aantal vrouwen in het hogere management vervijfvoudigd en het aantal vrouwen in het middenmanagement verdubbeld," aldus Maroš Šefčovič, vicevoorzitter en commissaris voor interinstitutionele betrekkingen en administratie. "We hebben ook nieuwe flexibele werkmethoden ingevoerd. Maar het kan en het moet beter. Deze strategie stelt niet alleen concrete doelen vast, maar moedigt ook aan dat er meer gebruik wordt gemaakt van flexibele werkmethoden. Managers op alle niveaus moeten gaan beseffen dat gelijke kansen voor al het personeel belangrijk zijn. Gelijke kansen zijn in ieders belang en zullen de Commissie in staat stellen om het beschikbare talent zo goed mogelijk in te zetten en de productiviteit te verhogen."

Aantrekken, ontwikkelen en behouden van een evenwichtig en gemotiveerd personeelsbestand

De strategie stelt meerjarendoelstellingen tot 2014 vast. Tegen dan moet 25% van de posten van het hogere management door vrouwen worden ingenomen (tegenover 21% nu). Om dit te bereiken moet ten minste 30% van de hogere managers die met pensioen gaan, door vrouwen worden vervangen. Tegen 2014 moeten vrouwen 30% van het middenmanagement uitmaken (23% nu) en de helft van de middenmanagers die met pensioen vertrekken, moet door vrouwen worden vervangen. Voor het eerst worden deze doelen voor elk directoraat‑generaal afzonderlijk vastgesteld. En tegen 2014 moet 43% van de administrateurs zonder managementfunctie een vrouw zijn. Deze streefwaarden zijn gebaseerd op een ontwikkelingsmodel van het personeel van de Commissie tot 2014 en een analyse van de beschikbare reserve aan kandidaten.

Bevorderen van een flexibelere, resultaatgerichte werkomgeving

Er moet meer gebruik worden gemaakt van flexibele werkmethoden, zoals flexitime, telewerk en deeltijdwerk. Managers zullen hiervoor meer bijstand, begeleiding en opleiding in verband met het gelijkekansenbeleid krijgen.

Eigen verantwoordelijkheid op het hoogste niveau

Gelijke kansen moeten systematisch deel gaan uitmaken van het personeelsbeleid van elk directoraat‑generaal. De communicatie met het personeel moet beter en de hogere managers moeten volledig achter het beleid staan. De directoraten‑generaal en diensten zullen tot 2014 hun prestaties geregeld moeten toetsen aan een gemeenschappelijk kader voor prestatiebeoordeling. Elk kwartaal zal het directoraat‑generaal Personele middelen de prestaties van elk directoraat‑generaal meten en de directoraten‑generaal die hun doelen niet bereiken, zullen hierop worden aangesproken. De directoraten‑generaal die het best presteren, zullen voor een periode van drie jaar een keurmerk krijgen.

Brussels, 17 December 2010

SEC(2010) 1554/3


on the strategy on equal opportunities for women and men within the European Commission (2010 – 2014)

{SEC(2010) 1555}


on the strategy on equal opportunities for women and men within the European Commission (2010 – 2014)

Attracting and retaining the most talented people and making the most of their skills is a strategic challenge for the European Commission. Making the best use of the pool of talent which it has, using the creativity and innovation of its staff to the full and in doing so taking account of the potential of the men and women who show their commitment on a daily basis is a key issue for the Commission if it wants to respond efficiently to the challenges of the next few years.

This strategy is also part of the Commission's general action to promote equality between women and men in Europe and aims to ensure consistency between this action, particularly the Women's Charter and the Strategy for Equality between Women and Men 2010-20151, and its own internal policy.

In addition to the prohibition of any discrimination based on gender, the Staff Regulations of Officials and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Community include the possibility of adopting measures which provide for specific advantages in favour of the underrepresented gender in order to ensure full equality between men and women in practice2.

In this context, the European Commission has made significant progress in the area of equal opportunities. The figures speak for themselves3. The presence of women in senior management posts has increased more than fivefold, going from 4% in 1995 to 21.4% in 2009, and has doubled at middle management level from 10.7% to 23.2%, whilst 40.4% of non-management AD posts are occupied by women. Strengthened by the recent enlargements, there are now many more women in our workforce, with 53.5% of women4 in the Commission as a whole, compared to 44.3% in 1995, and as many as 47% of women in the AD5-AD8 categories, offering a large pool of skills for the future.

Other successes include the rapid increase in flexible ways of working, such as flexitime and teleworking, and the introduction of provisions which are more favourable to family considerations such as parental or family leave or new forms of part-time working.

Efforts have also been made to raise awareness in the Directorates-General and Services of the importance of promoting equal opportunities and encouraging recruitment and appointments of a greater number of women. The action plans adopted by the Directorates-General and Services have also contributed to creating a more balanced Commission and one which is more flexible in terms of the organisation of its work.

We are rightly proud of our past and current achievements, but the Commission, as initiator and guardian of the legislation which aims to ensure equal opportunities for European citizens, can and should do more. Despite the progress achieved, it is still the case that there are fewer women in the higher grades and functions. Merely increasing the pool of women potentially eligible will not be enough to redress the imbalances which have been observed.

Studies5 show that structural factors can discourage many talented women from making the full range of their skills available to the institution. This is because the family responsibilities which the majority of women have are perceived as being not particularly compatible with the demands of being a manager. In addition, women are excluded from many networks and show less confidence in their abilities. The risk for the organisation is therefore that it overlooks the diversity of its talent, while the current economic climate, characterised by overstretched budgets and the stabilisation of our human resources, calls for a stronger policy to manage all of our talent.

Surrounding ourselves with different profiles which represent European diversity is also an excellent way of building confidence with, and gaining recognition from, European citizens and understanding their expectations in order to better serve them. In addition, the exchange of ideas, experiences and cultures within the Commission also means that the potential for creativity and innovation, which is required in order to implement our political priorities and objectives, can be developed. Complex problems are often better resolved or quality services better provided by diverse teams rather than homogenous teams6.

These observations prompt us to refocus the equal opportunities policy on the management and development of our talent, women as well as men, so that the institution delivers its political priorities and objectives. The growing diversity of our staff also calls for the development of flexible work organisation in accordance with the principles of objective-based management. It is also important in this context that performance is evaluated on the basis of individual performance rather than physical presence in the workplace. This will enable us to meet the aspirations and expectations of staff in terms of career prospects, interesting work, autonomy and balance between work and private life. Management of diversity must become a real lever for the Commission's performance and be mainstreamed into all human resource management policies and procedures.

This document presents the new strategy and the ambitions expected of our institution with regard to equal opportunities for the next four years and highlights our priorities and objectives. The Commission must aim to be a model employer, knowing how to best use and develop all its talents and skills and give its staff every opportunity to contribute to the success of the organisation according to their merits, skills and professional aspirations, and must offer them a working environment which fosters their development.

Equal opportunities concerns everyone and must be everyone's business. This strategy is addressed to more than 35 000 men and women who work every day for the success of the European Commission, regardless of their place of employment and regardless of their status, category or function.

It provides for general measures which benefit all staff, relating to identifying talent, making coaching and mentoring available and providing a flexible working environment. It also includes targeted transitional measures which are needed to redress the current imbalances in the representation of women. This strategy aims to give real meaning to the principle of merit, enabling every member of staff to contribute to the success of the organisation according to their merits, skills and professional aspirations. Whilst it capitalises on past successes relating to setting quantitative objectives, it also seeks to create a more ambitious policy which includes questions relating to the organisation of work and the working environment.

In order to meet these different objectives, this strategy is based on the following principles:

Three main areas of work have been identified, which will contribute to achieving the Commission's ambition by 2014, namely:

This policy aims to attract, retain, develop and motivate the talent which the Commission needs in order to be able to perform well and function efficiently. Demographic trends and budgetary and HR constraints prompt us to anticipate the consequences. More targeted use should be made of the quantitative and qualitative data available in order to better understand the problems and/or constraints which prevent some people from progressing or achieving their potential within the Commission.

Our aging workforce will mean that a large number of colleagues will be retiring in the next ten years, a significant proportion of whom are in management positions. This window of opportunity means that a more pro-active approach can be taken to redress the current imbalances. Targets for representation at Commission level will be defined, and each Directorate-General and Service will have to contribute to achieving these targets according to their baseline situation and other factors specific to each DG.

Expected results

A civil service where equality issues are at the heart of human resource management.

A civil service which reflects European citizens and which recognises and values all of its female and male staff in line with their talents and aspirations.

Means of action

In order to do this, this strategy will ensure that:

3.1. Human resource management takes account of the equal opportunities dimension: all the European Commission's HR core processes will be analysed from this perspective, with a view to incorporating this dimension. Three processes will be targeted: the forward planning of personnel, in order to ensure that future HR needs take account of gender factors; performance management and evaluation, in order to assess the existence of imbalances based on gender and to remedy them if necessary and to ensure that this does not undermine the balance between work and private life; and reporting, in order to include needs relating to monitoring the implementation of this strategy.

3.2. A more balanced representation of men and women at all levels is achieved by using targets: these targets define our medium-term vision and translate the Commission's commitment in a clear and measurable way. They are one of the principles governing recruitment and appointments in the civil service, where merit is still the most important criterion. This means that priority can only be given to female applicants who are of equal merit. These targets must not hamper the legitimate aspirations of male members of staff who commit themselves continuously and actively for the success of the organisation and who plan to develop their career by going into management.

These objectives are based on data relating to the current situation and on an extrapolation of trends noted within the Commission. They include factors relating to recruitment, retirement forecasts based on an average age, and promotion, and take account of the data on the available pools within the target populations. These targets are complemented by an indication of the number of appointments to be made for management posts in replacement of people who are retiring, and the number of first recruitments to other non-management AD posts (see Annex 1).

By the end of 2014, the Commission should ensure that:

With regard to the efforts required, this means that, throughout this period, half of all appointments to replace those retiring at the average age of 62 must be women. The annual breakdown of efforts by DG only takes account of departures due to retirement and is therefore a minimum to be achieved for the DGs. There is nothing to stop them setting even more ambitious recruitment targets which take account of other types of departures.

3.3. The recruitment and selection pool of applicants is widened in favour of the underrepresented gender: the binding measures7 aimed at ensuring the neutrality of recruitment or selection procedures (such as balanced competition selection boards and panels who have received equal opportunities training) will be maintained. External and internal communication measures targeted at underrepresented groups to encourage them to apply and join the Commission will be continued.

The neutrality of tests for general competitions organised to recruit AD and AST staff will be checked by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) with a view to eliminating any bias which could lead to an abnormal failure rate for men or women during the different tests and defining corrective measures if necessary. These measures will aim to attract all talent, both men and women, including in the AST category.

3.4. Career development is sensitive to considerations relating to equal opportunities and does not discriminate on the basis of gender: in addition to the DG's annual monitoring of data to check the neutrality of the performance management and evaluation process, as well as the certification procedure, a study will be carried out on the possible impact of various types of career interruption on career development from a gender perspective. If necessary, this study will be followed up by recommendations for Directorates-General and Services with a view to reducing the imbalances observed. In addition, as part of the rotation of staff posted to Delegations, keeping families together will be facilitated as far as possible.

3.5. Women are encouraged to apply for senior and middle management posts: there will be better monitoring of people who are potentially eligible for management posts through a better understanding of the motivation factors and constraints. To this end, support measures such as mentoring, coaching and/or general or specific training will be proposed.

Formal bodies such as the Consultative Committee on Appointments and other existing networks will be mobilised in order to widen the base of potential applicants for management posts. At central level, an analysis will be made of the desirability and feasibility of making better use of the potential offered by non-management posts which involve management responsibilities in order to test potential applicants and prepare them for management posts, including the possibility of amending the rules.

Making the most of all talents and skills involves creating a working environment which favours achieving objectives and not just carrying out tasks or physical presence. The challenge is to establish a working environment and an organisational culture in which men and women are offered the best chances of contributing fully to the success of the organisation.

The emphasis on results means that greater flexibility should be offered to staff for them to be able to better reconcile work and private life. Management has a key role to play in promoting such an environment and setting an example. Creating a working environment where everyone has a place requires a positive change in attitudes and behaviour. Whilst training for managers is essential, lasting effects which benefit all staff and the institution are only likely to be achieved through actions aimed at ensuring that equal opportunities is better taken into account in the HR policies of the Directorates-General and Services.

Expected results

An environment which favours a proper balance between work and private life for all staff thanks to increased use of flexible working arrangements in the context of a working environment that gives priority to achieving objectives.

Managers who are open to flexibility, who promote it in their unit, not only in terms of the organisation of the work of their service but also in their own practice.

Means of action

In order to do this, this strategy will ensure that:

4.1. Flexible work organisation is promoted in order to facilitate a better balance between work and private life: DG Human Resources and Security will analyse the operational consequences of flexible working arrangements in a context of limited resources. On this basis, and within the budget limits available, DG HR could propose, if necessary, increasing the use of teleworking, as well as new measures if necessary.

4.2. An organisation is developed which favours equal opportunities in the Directorates-General and the Services: in this area, guidance and assistance measures will be proposed to officials responsible for human resources. These measures will be based on a common framework which assesses the degree of inclusion of equal opportunities in their HR policies, procedures and practices.

4.3. The dissemination of good practices between Directorates-General and Services is facilitated via the network of Equality Correspondents: these exchanges will be organised by means of collaborative electronic platforms which aim to facilitate sharing and exchanges between Directorates-General.

4.4. The management of equal opportunities within teams becomes an essential competence of management staff in terms of people management: training measures and programmes for management will emphasise the necessary skills for managing a diverse workforce and developing a flexible working environment. DG HR will also propose guidance for managers on equal opportunities.

The success of this strategy lies in long-term commitment at political level (members of the Commission) as well as at the different levels of management. For the Directorates-General and the Services, it also involves the ability to measure progress achieved and identify areas where there is room for improvement. By doing this, the Directorates-General will have a clearer idea of the impact of their own initiatives and the extent to which they are in line with the Commission strategy. In return, this common framework will enable each Directorate-General to compare itself with the other services. We should also seek to raise awareness amongst all staff.

Expected results

Active leadership, which is committed on a long-term basis and responsible for the success of this strategy.

A civil service which has confidence in the institution's commitment and capacity to achieve its stated objectives on equal opportunities.

Means of action

In order to do this, this strategy will ensure that:

5.1. Equal opportunities is repositioned as a lever and key factor in the performance of the institution: communication measures will be organised a regular intervals, aimed at disseminating the ambitions, objectives and expected results of the strategy, as well its links with personnel policy and its relevance for different actors

5.2. A framework for implementation is provided within the Directorates-General and the Services: based on the overall assessment of their situation, the Directorates-General and Services will draw up a multiannual action plan. These plans will be their roadmap for achieving their targets for representation. They will include their priority objectives, as well as specific actions with clear deadlines and responsibilities. DG HR will hold meetings with families of DGs with a view to helping to draw up these plans.

5.3. A common framework is provided for measuring performance in terms of equal opportunities: In cooperation with the Equality Correspondents of the Directorates-General and also the Joint Committee on Equal Opportunities, DG HR will establish a framework for measuring performance. It will be used as a tool to steer and evaluate the Commission's performance as a whole and in each Directorate-General and Service.

This framework will be based on three areas. The first will concern quantified performance (representation rates, staff loss rates (men/women), use of flexible working arrangements). A second area will involve analysing the extent to which equal opportunities considerations are incorporated in the HR policies of the Directorates-General and Services. Finally, the third area will take account of the perceptions of staff which will be canvassed by means of surveys. On this basis, a composite index showing the performance of each Directorate-General will be established.

5.4. The contribution of exemplary Directorates-General and Services is acknowledged: Directorates-General and Services which are particularly exemplary will be awarded a label for a period of three years by DG HR, in cooperation with the Joint Committee on Equal Opportunities (COPEC). These labels, which will be awarded on the occasion of International Women's Day, can be used to advantage by the DGs concerned in the framework of their communications to staff.

5.5. Progress achieved and results obtained are reported on: The Directorates-General and the Services will report regularly on their progress to their Commissioner and at meetings relating to resource management, amongst others. DG HR will present a breakdown of progress on a regular basis, as will the Directorates-General in their annual HR reports, if necessary.

On a more regular basis, DG HR will report on progress during meetings of Directors-General, resource Directors and the human resources network. DG HR will report to the College on the implementation of the strategy at the half-way point in 2012 and at the end of its implementation in 2015. This report will include an assessment of the performance of each DG including their baseline situation and other factors specific to each DG. Those DGs which have not achieved their targets will be identified and will be invited to take corrective measures to improve their situation.

5.6. Equality Correspondents become the main contact points for equal opportunities within their Directorates-General: The interservice group which brings together Equality Correspondents will have the task of contributing to the design of common tools for steering the strategy. It will also promote the achievement and dissemination of the strategy's objectives and ensure that monitoring takes place.

5.7. Partnership with the Joint Committee on Equal Opportunities is strengthened: in the context of its current mandate, the COPEC will be kept regularly informed about the implementation of this strategy. Its opinions will be published on DG HR's website.


1. Representation targets in senior management, middle management and for non-management AD posts in the European Commission

2. Representation targets in middle management by Directorate-General8

3. Trends in representation of men and women in senior management in the European Commission based on planned replacement of people retiring

4. Trends in representation of men and women in middle management based on planned replacement of people retiring by Directorate-General

5. Trends in representation of men and women in non-management AD posts based on planned initial recruitment in the European Commission

1 :

COM(2010) 78 and COM(2010) 491 final.

2 :

Article 1d

3 :

Commission Staff working paper accompanying this Communication – SEC(2010).

4 :

Officials and temporary or contract staff in active employment – from Human Resources Report 2010.

5 :

In particular, comparative study of careers of men and women in the AD category at the Commission, July 2007. (

6 :

The Costs and Benefits of Diversity, European Commission 2003.

7 :

Commission communication concerning the Second Annual Monitoring Report on the Fourth Action Programme for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men at the European Commission, SEC(2006) 1184/3.

8 :

These figures exclude staff who will be transferred to the European External Action Service.

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