An initiative to establish a quota system to promote women to the boards of the European Union's major firms, launched by Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, "is bogged down" and runs the risk "of being shelved" amid a lack consensus among Member States, says Spanish daily La Vanguardia.

The proposal reserves 40 percent of the seats on the boards of European companies for women — as opposed to the current level of just 13 percent. However, a report presented by Ireland at the end of its six-month rotating EU presidency in June, noted "that it was impossible for governments to find common ground regarding the proposal," the paper says . La Vanguardia adds that —

… countries opposed to the directive, led by Germany and the United Kingdom, are holding fast, and form an unmovable blocking minority within the Council. The opposition group is also very varied. It includes Denmark and Sweden, the countries with the best results in terms of gender equality without having to adopt quotas, but also the Netherlands, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and the Czech Republic.

It is now up to the Lithuanian EU presidency to relaunch the issue. The Lithuanian Social Affairs Minister Algimanta Pabedinskienė says this is a priority for her. This view is, however, not shared by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, the paper reports, saying that "she agrees neither with the idea of quotas nor with Reding's proposal".

Although the latter "does not consider the battle lost," because "she has Paris on her side and has not lost hope that Berlin will ease its position after the elections" in September, the paper anticipates "a political duel" between two women "known for their combative temperaments" who "aspire to positions of responsibility within the EU as of next year".