The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives have jointly notified the European Commission that both Houses have decided to show the "yellow card" to the proposal of the Commission on gender equality among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges. If one third of all the parliaments in the EU show the yellow card, then Brussels must reconsider or withdraw its proposal.
Principle of subsidiarity
A majority* of both Houses consider the proposal to be inconsistent with the principle of subsidiarity. According to this principle the European Union should only undertake action if this is more effective than action taken at national level, so if the Member States are not sufficiently able to achieve the objectives of the proposed action. In the opinion of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the States General this is not the case.
The European Commission argues that national initiatives have proven insufficient to achieve the objective of the directive, more women in senior positions in companies, and proposes a directive setting a minimum objective of a 40% presence of the underrepresented sex among the non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the States General recognise the importance of equal opportunities of men and women in the labour market. That is why a statutory target figure of 30% for large companies will be introduced as of 1 January 2013 in the Netherlands, for both the board of directors and the supervisory board. Implementation of European legislation – with a different objective, a different target group, a different time schedule and the introduction of sanctions – might interfere with this national initiative
The Senate and the House of Representatives of the States General see no added value or any necessity of intervention by the European Commission through legislation in existing national initiatives in the field of equal opportunities for men and women in senior positions of companies.
*In the Senate this majority comprises all the parliamentary groups, with the exception of the VVD, SP, PVV, CDA, and ChristenUnie groups. In the House of Representatives the majority consists of all the parliamentary groups, with the exception of the GreenLeft group.