Follow-up zu #HalfOfIt – How we are improving #Next Generation EU
In May 2020 we demanded #HalfOfIt – 50% of the recovery funds to be spent in response to the Covid-19 crisis – now called Next Generation EU, shall go to women.
What have we achieved?
We managed to include our demands in all four Next Generation EU regulations that set out the criteria for the funding of national projects!
Thanks to our study “‘NextGenerationEU Leaves Women Behind. Gender Impact Assessment of the EC Proposals for the EU Recovery Plan” we have it in writing: The proposed recovery package – a lump sum of €750 billion – is gender-blind: Women are at the centre of this crisis which has the harshest effects on sectors where a majority of the employees are women, but the investments are planned to go into male-dominated industries.
Women also dropping out of the labour market in high numbers because schools and child care facilities stopped working regularly.
For women who are also members of other vulnerable groups, the negative effects rise exponentially. The Covid-19 crisis sets women’s empowerment, both economically and socially, back by decades.
- invest funds in crisis-resilient schools and (child)care facilities
- gender impact assessments for all projects
- special quotas for women-led companies when granting loans
- equality plans for companies with a low proportion of women receiving state aid
- collection of gender-disaggregated data
- adding “care” to the wording “green and digital transformation” to put care in the centre
How are we implementing our solutions:July resolution of the European Parliament
The European Parliaments negotiates the consent to the MFF with the European Council on the basis of its July resolutions. Recital 16 is key for gender demands:
“Supports strongly the introduction of gender mainstreaming and gender impact obligations (gender budgeting) in both the MFF regulation and the NGEU regulation; considers, therefore, that a transparent, comprehensive and meaningful tracking methodology should be adopted swiftly and adapted, if necessary, during the MFF mid-term revision;”
This is what we want to see in the final text of the MFF.
Amendments to Next Generation EU regulations
Four Next Generation EU regulations to the crisis can be improved to include our solutions. We have drafted reports and amendments which are being negotiated in the coming weeks. (If you are interested to understand the process more in-depth, I can recommend the following page by the EC.)
- Recovery and Resilience Facility – €560 billion to support investments and reforms
- Technical Support Instrument – €1.45 billion for administrative support for Member States
- Invest EU – €15.3 billion Europe to mobilise private investments in projects in the EU
- Just Transition Mechanism -the investment plan provides support to mobilise funds within the European Green Deal
It is a success is that the European Parliament, pushed by the Greens/EFA group, is making strong demands and is incorporating the measures into the respective regulations.
*The document with RRF amendments tabled in committee is not published yet but can soon be found here.
Now it is important to keep up the pressure to make sure all these amendments make it through the votes in the competent committees and than through Plenary. This will take place in September and October. We also need to keep pressuring the European Commission to take up the topic. It is also important to ask Member States to put introduce this language into the conclusions of the European Council. A few have already promised to do so.
What am I doing to make this happen:
- assembled a network of supportive MEPs from all democratic groups
- prepared a handout with principles and amendments for all instruments that we shared with relevant MEPs
- introduced gender equality amendments co-rapporteur on the Technical Support Instrument (more on that below)
- organised meetings with the Commission’s Head of Performance-Based Budgeting who is also in charge of gender budgeting
- shared the assessment in a meeting with the equality adviser of the Commission President
- written a letter to Ursula von der Leyen
- asked for a meeting with Commissioner Gentiloni
- talked confidentially with representatives of European governments
I will keep up the pressure. Please join me!
- Understanding, that men and women are being affected by the current social and economic system differently and using fiscal policy to address these inequalities. This can mean direct investments but more often includes indirect investments and areas where it is not immediately clear that investments have different impacts on men and women (usually due to the roles they are adhering to in a society).
- One example are investments in Infrastructure: The day to day travel behaviour of men and women is different. Since women are mostly responsible or care work and more often employed in not well paid part-time and in jobs closer to home, they use public transportation and often have to do a string of chores in one trip. Men, however, more often have long ways to work and use a car. If you take these different realities into account, it is easy to see how a lack of funding in public transportation disproportionally disadvantages women. For a more in-depth analysis on this see “Women and Transport”.
Gender Impact Assessment
- We need to analyse the specific effects investments have on different groups of people. To do so we have to conduct Impact Assessments. Ideally, these are part of the process at all stages of the funding process. Before an investment, the existing situation needs to be assessed, only then we can understand, whether the funding was able to revise inequalities.
Gender Disaggregated Data
- This is data, which is being collected and analysed by asking the question on “who” benefits from the funding and collecting data about their gender as well. It would be necessary to have a specific requirement for all funds to have statistics broken down by gender or have gender-relevant indicators, which is currently lacking except for the ESF.
- Being able to divide data by gender, we will gain an understanding of who profits from the investments and why. If I take e.g. agriculture, one of the largest fields of EU investment, men make up most of the beneficiaries, not because the funding is planned this way, but because agriculture is a male-dominated sector.
- A certain percentage of the funding is being dedicated directly to women, e.g. that at least 30% of the small and medium enterprises which benefit from the support need to be female-led.
- Care must be central pillar of the economy. While the commission suggests “green and digital transformation”, we call for “care, green and digital transformation”. Member states must be encouraged to spend part of the funds under Next Generation EU on crisis resilient schools, childcare facilities and care services in general.