EUROPEAN COMMISSION: ONLY HALF OF DEPARTMENTS SUBMIT GENDER EQUALITY ACTION PLANS.

 
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The report gives a detailed breakdown of gender issues across the Commission and highlights a range of problems, including failure to meet specific recruitment targets. Adopted by the Commission on November 23, it serves as the first in a series of annual monitoring reports on the Fourth Action Programme for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men at the Commission (SEC(2004)447/5), which was adopted on April 28, 2004 and covers the period 2004-08. The report assesses its implementation in 2004 and analyses measures announced by DGs in their action plans.

According to the report, 20 of 40 DGs and other departments have failed to submit action plans detailing how exactly they are putting the Commission's gender strategy into practice. But officials have indicated that this number has since fallen to 18. "Most of the action plans adopted ... are serious and very precise", the report states. While DGs COMP, EMPL and REGIO are "good examples particularly worthy of note", so are DGs ECFIN, ESTAT, INFSO, MARKT and TREN, "which have a higher male appointment level in category A but have a proactive equal opportunities policy".

The Equal Opportunities and Non-discrimination Unit of the Personnel and Administration Directorate-General is specifically charged with monitoring and drawing up the Commission's equal opportunities policy. It thus has a coordinating, advisory, monitoring and evaluation role in relation to the DGs and services that have the chief responsibility for implementing the Fourth Action Programme through an "equality correspondent" - a person appointed within each DG to be responsible for follow-up - an action plan and an equal opportunities group.

But the Commission confessed in a November 23 statement that one of the main obstacles to progress is "the fact that the issue is still a low priority for many departments". The report stridently...

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