The European Parliament’s leadership adopted on Monday (29 November) a two-year ‘roadmap’ through which it hopes to “intensify efforts to achieve a more inclusive administration”.
The blueprint endorsed by the Parliament’s Bureau, which includes its president and vice presidents, will cover disability, LGBTIQ+ matters, and racial and ethnic diversity, the EU assembly said in a statement, as part of plans to become “a fully inclusive and respectful working place.”
One of the objectives on anti-racism is to foster ethnic diversity among parliament’s staff. The Parliament says “the experience of in-house colleagues from diverse ethnic backgrounds must be listened to and their grievances assessed”.
Meanwhile, it also plans to “actively reach out to less represented groups and support talent programmes to increase parliament’s diversity”.
The Parliament’s administration will also carry out an anonymous staff survey regarding, adding that “the diversity of colleagues, their perceptions of Parliament’s inclusiveness as a workplace, and the effectiveness of its diversity actions will provide key data for further progress.”
The plan is the latest in a series of campaigns by the EU institutions to address diversity. The European Commission tabled an EU anti– racism action plan last September in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, and appointed Michaela Moua as the first EU anti-racism coordinator earlier this year.
EU Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli vowed last September that the Commission would take an “introspective look within the Commission’s services and we will be working to ensure that our staff is reflective of society in its diversity”.
The Commission also launched its own diversity survey of its 33,000 staff.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to adopt unanimously a comprehensive roadmap that strives for equality while maintaining a close and productive dialogue with diversity groups within the Parliament, to ensure these measures are both legitimate and effective,” said Vice-President Dimitrios Papadimoulis, the chair of the Parliament’s high-level group on gender equality and diversity.
“This presents another opportunity to consolidate our position as a leading institution on diversity matters. It is also crucial to ensuring that Parliament’s administration is truly representative and accessible to all. Now, we have to work together to implement these measures in a timely and effective way,” Papadimoulis added.
However, despite its claims to leadership on diversity, the EU institutions have faced criticism that people from ethnic minorities are massively underrepresented both in political and administrative positions.
The EU is yet to have its first non-white Commissioner, and there are only 24 non-white EU lawmakers out of 705 in the current Parliament. There is a similar story within the Parliament’s bureaucracy.
Only 1% of staff employed directly by EU institutions have a minority background, and the institutions do not collect any data on the ethnicity or religion of EU officials.
In the past, the EU institutions have played down criticism of their record on diversity, insisting that the recruitment process to become an EU official – at the heart of which is the ‘concours’ examination – is open and accessible to all people.
In April, Parliament’s leadership adopted a roadmap to achieve gender equality in political processes and its administration.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]