European Union

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
European Union

See also European Parliament

1989-95 Commissioner for Taxes, Revenue Harmonization and Consumer Policies Christiane Scrivener (France)
French 1976-78 Secretary of State of Trade for Consumers' protection (b. 1925- ).

1989-92 Commissioner for Labour, Social Affairs and Industry Vasso Papandreau (Greece)
Greek Deputy Minister 1985 and 1986-88 Alternate Minister of Industry
1988-89 Minister of External Trade
, 1996-99 Minister of Development, 1999-2001 Minister of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization and from
2001 Minister of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works. (b. 1956-).

1995-99 Commissioner for Immigration, Interior and Juridical Affairs, Relations with the ombudsmand, Financial Control and Anti-fraud Measures Anita Gradin (Sweden)
Swedish State Secretary of Family Affairs 1967-73, Minister of Immigration and Equality in the Ministry of Labour 1982-86, Minister of External Trade and Europe in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1986-91 and Ambassador  to Austria, Slovenia, The International Atomic Agency and the United Nations body for Industrial Development 1994-95. (b. 1933-).

1995-99 Commissioner for Science, Research, Education and Youth Édith Cresson (France)
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 1981-83, Minister of External Trade 1983-86,
Minister of Industry 1984-86, Minister of European Affairs 1988-90 and 1991-92 Prime Minister. In march 1999 she was one of the contributing factors in the downfall of the EU-Commission as she refused the step down after a rapport had demonstrated that she was responsible of nepotism and mismanagement. (b. 1934-).

1995-99 Commissioner for Environment and Atomic Security Ritt Bjerregård (Denmark)
Danish Minister of Education 1973  and 1975-78, Minister of Social Affairs 1979-82  and 2000-01 Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. Chairperson 1982 and 1987-91 of the Parliamentary Group of the Social Democrats. (b. 1941-).

1995-99 Commissioner for Regional policies, Relations with the Committee of the Regions and the Cohesion Fund Monika Wulf-Mathies (Germany)
German trade union leader until 1989. From 1999 Advisor in the Office of the Federal Chancellor and later a mangager of the German Post. (b. 1942-)

1995-99 Commissioner for Fisheries, Consumer Policy and the European Community Humanitarian Office Emma Bonino (Italy)
Secretary of the Parliament Group 1976-78, Deputy Parliamentary Leader 1979, President 1991-93 and 1993-95 Secretary General (Party Leader) of of Partito Radicale, Presidential Candidate 1999, Leader of  her own list Lista Bonino 2000-01 and later Minister of European Affairs and 2013-14 Foreign Minister

1999-2004 Vice-President of the Commission in charge of Relations with the European Parliament and Commissioner of Transport and Energy Loyola de Palacio del Valle-Lersundi (Spain)
Deputy Spokesperson for the Partido Popular Group in Spanish Congress 1989-1996, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 1996-99 and 1999 Member of the European Parliament and head of the Spanish delegation in the European Parliament. Died of cancer, and lived (1950-2006).

1999-2004 Commissioner for Education and Culture Viviane Reding (Luxembourg)
14 Commissioner for the Information Society and Media
2009-14 Vice-President of the Commission and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
Member of the Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies 1989-99, Vice-President of the conservative, CSV and MEP from 2014. (b. 1951-).

1999-2004 Commissioner for the Budget Michaele Schreyer (Germany)
Leading member of the German Green Party, Minister for Urban Development and Environmental Protection in the State Government (Senate) of Berlin 1989-90 and Member of the Presidency of the Berlin Parliament 1991-95. (b. 1951-).

1999-2004 Commissioner for Environment Margot Wallström (Sweden)
2004-10 1.
Vice-President of the Commission in charge of Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy
Swedish Minister of Civil Affairs (Consumer Affairs, Women and Youth) 1988-1991, Minister of Culture
1994-1996 and 1996-1998 Minister of Social Affairs. 2006 she said no to be nominated as candidate for the post of Chairperson of the Swedish Social Democrats. (b. 1954-).

1999-2004 Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopouluos (Greece)
Greek Deputy Minister for Development with industry portfolio (privatisation, industrial restructuring) 1996-1999, Former Civil Servant and MP and again from 2004. (b. 1959-).

2004 Commissioner without Portfolio attatched to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development Sandra Kalniete (Latvia)
Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs 2002-04. She was Deputy Chairman and of Latvian Popular Front 1988-90, Chief of State Protocol, Deputy Foreign Minister 1990-93,  Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva 1993-97 to Ambassador to France 1997-2002 and 2000-2002 also to UNESCO. Not reappointed by the Latvian Government. Presidential Candidate 2007. (b. 1953-).

2004 Commissioner without Portfolio attatched to the Commissioner for Education and Culture Dalia Grybauskaitė (Lithuania)
Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget
Lithuanian Minister of Finance from 2001. Before that she was Vice-Minister of Finance 1999-2000 and Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs  2000-01 and Lithuanian President from 2009 and President of the European Council in 2014. (b. 1957-).

2004 Commissioner
without Portfolio attatched to the Commissioner for Trade Danuta Hübner (Poland)
09 Commissioner for Regional Policy
Polish Minister of European Affairs from 2003. Former Under-Secretary of State of Industry and Trade, Minister and Head of the Chancellery of the President of the Republic, 2000-01 she was Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations before becoming State Secretary in the Chancellery of the President in Charge of Social Affairs in 1995-2000 and First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Secretary in Charge of European Integration 2001-03. Resigned to become MEP in 2009. (b. 1949-)

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Dr. Benita Maria Ferrero-Waldner (Austria)
Career diplomat, 1993 Minister and Assistant Chief of Protocol of the Foreign Ministry, 1994-1995 Assistant Secretary General of the United Nation and Chief of Protocol. 1995-2000 Minister of State and since 2000 Minister of Foreign Affairs, in 2000 Chairperson of the Ministerial Council of OSCE and 2004 Unsuccessful Presidential candidate. (b. 1948-).

2004-10 Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Mariann Fischer Boel (Denmark)
Danish Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 2001-04. (b. 1943-).

2004-10 Commissioner for Competition Nellie Kroes (The Netherlands)
14 Vice-President of the EU-Commission and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda
Dutch Member of
parliament for VVD  1971-77, State Secretary 1977-81 and Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management 1982-89, President of Nijmrode University 1991-2000 and member of a number of boards of major Dutch companies. (b. 1941-).

2004 Designate Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union Ingrīda Ūdre (Latvia)
From 1998 Co-Chairperson and 1998-99 Vice-Chairperson of the Saeima Fracion of the New Party, before becoming leader of Leader Union of Greens and Farmers, and it's Deputy Parliamentary Group Chairperson  2002-04. In 1999 she was both Minister of Economics and Presidential Candidate and since 2002 Chairperson of the Saeima. Her nomination met with severe critic in both Latvia and the European Parliament and she was later asked to withdraw her nomination. (b. 1958-).

2007-10 Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva (Bulgaria)
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chief Negotiator for the negotiations with the EU 2001-02 and Minister of European Affairs 2002-06. (b. 1957-).

2008-10 Commissioner for Health Androula Vassiliou (Cyprus)
14 Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth
Studied law in London and headed a private law firm
1968-1988 until her husband, Dr. George Vassiliou, was elected President of the Republic, engaged in a number of associations, MP 1996-2006, Vice President of the European Liberal Democrats and Reform Party 2001-06. (b. 1943-).

Commissioner for Trade Baroness Ashton of Upholland (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
2010-14 1. Vice-President of the EU-Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (of the Council of Ministers of the EU)
Catherine Ashton has been a Baroness from 1999,
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of  Education and Skills 2001-04, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Constitutional Affairs 2004-06 and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2006-07, Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council 2007-08. (b. 1956-).

2009-10 Designate Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Rumiana Jeleva (Bulgaria)
Member of the European Parliament 2007-09 and Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs 2009-10 She withdrew after critique against her candidature, and also resigned as Foreign Minister. (b. 1969-).

2010-14 Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (Ireland)
MP 1975-97, Parliamentary Secretary of Industry and Energy 1977-79, Minister of the Gaeltacht 1979-81, Minister of Youth and Sports, Deputy President of Fíanna Faíl 1979-81, Minister of State of the Taoiseach with Responsibility as Co-ordinator of Government Policy and for European Questions 1987-91, Minister of Transport, Communication and Tourism 1992-93, Minister of Justice 1993-94 and Member of the European Court of Auditors 1999-2009. (b. 1945-)

2010-14 Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedgaard (Denmark)
Political Spokesperson of Det Konservative Folkeparti 1989-90, M
inister of Environment 2004-07, Minister of Nordic Cooperation 2005-07, Minister of Climate and Energy 2007-09  and Minister for the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009, When Lene Espersen became party leader in 2008 it was agreed that she was to take over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2010, but instead she became EU-Commissioner. (b. 1961-).

2010-14 Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki (Greece)
MP for the Communists and Synaspismos 1977-93 and 1996-2006, Chairperson of the Synasprimos (Left Alliance) 1989-93, MP for PASOK from 2006. (b. 1953-).

2010-14 Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva (Bulgaria)
2014-16 Vice-President of the Commission for Budget and Human Resources
Former Vice-President of the World Bank and CEO of the bank from 2017, and Candidate for UN Secretary General in 2016.

2010-14 Commissioner for Home Affaris Cecilia Malmström (Sweden)
2014- Commissioner for Trade
Member of the European Parliament since 1999, and of the Parliament 2002-06 and Minister of European Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister from 2006. (b. 1968-).

2014 Interim Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Martine Reicherts (Luxembourg)
Worked with the European Commission as a high ranking civil servant since the 1980s.
(b. 1957-)

2014- Vice-President of the European Commission, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Federica Mogherini (Italy)
Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2014.

2014- Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager (Denmark)
Leader of the Social Liberals 2007-14, Minister of Education 1998-2001 and Vice-Premier and Minister of Interior and Economy 2011-14.

2014- Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry Entreprepreneurship and Small and Mediumsized Entreprises Elżbieta Bieńkowska (Poland)
Minister of Regional Development 2007-14 and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy

2014- Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourová (Czech Republic)
Deputy Minister 2004-06 and Minister of Regional Development from 2014, First Vice-Chairperson of ANO from 2013 and MP from the same year. Former Social Democrat. (b. 1964-).

2014- Comissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen (Belgium)
Member of the European Parliament from 1991, Chairperson of the CD&V the Flemish Christian Democrats and candidate for Prime Minister in 2010. Also Vice-Chairperson of the European People's Party.

2014- Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu (Romania)
Former Senator and MEP from 2007. (b 1967-).

2014- Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc (Slovenia)
Minister without portfolio for Development in 2014.

2014 Designate Vice-President of the Commission for Energy Union Alenka Bratušek (Slovenia)
Former Minister of Economy and Prime Minister 2013-14. Withdrew her candidature after the European Parliament rejected to confirm her.




Presidency of the European Communities - the European Union
The primary purpose of the European Council - Council of Ministers - is to act as one of the two chambers of the EU's legislative branch, the other chamber being the European Parliament. It also holds, jointly with the Parliament, the budgetary power of the Union and has greater control than the Parliament over the more intergovernmental areas of the EU, such as foreign policy and macroeconnomic co-ordination. Finally, before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, it formally held the executive power of the EU which it conferred upon the European Commission

1981 and 1986 President of the Council of the European Communities Margaret Thatcher (July-December)
Prime Minister of United Kingdom 1979-90. The Council is the supreme authority and central decision-making body of the European Union.  Bringing together the Heads of State and Government and the President of the European Commission, it embodies the highest political authority of the Member States and of the European Community. Itl generally meets four times a year

2007 President of the Council of the European Union Angela Merkel (January-June)
German Federal Chancellor since 2005. The European Council meets at European summits at about four times per year. The task as President of the assembled European Council, is similarly performed by the head of government or head of state of the member state holding the Presidency. The President is primarily responsible for preparing and chairing Council meetings, and has no executive powers.

2012 President of the Council of the European Union Helle Thorning-Schmidt (January-June)
Danish Prime Minister from 2011 and Chairperson of the Social Democrats from 2009. (b. 1966-)

2014 President of the Council of the European Union Dalia Grybauskaitė (January-June)
Lithuanian President from 2009 and former European Commissioner.

Chairperson of the Council of General Affairs (Foreign Ministers of the member states)
This Council, which is primarily a legislative body. It shares legislative competence with the European Commission and the European Parliament in matters relating to the European Community. The General Affairs and External Relations Council has a coordinating and initiating role in respect of the other eight Council configurations.

1980 Colette Flesch (Luxembourg)

1996 Susanna Agnelli (Italy)

1999 Tarja Halonen (Finland)

2001 Anna Lindh (Sweden)

2006 Ursula Plassnik (Austria)

2012 Erato Kozakou-Markoullis (Cyprus)

2014 Federica Mogherini (Italy)


Last update 01.11.16