EU lawmakers reject banking watchdog candidate for second time

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LONDON (Reuters) – A panel of European Union lawmakers has rejected the candidate for executive director of the bloc’s banking watchdog for a second time in a bid to attract more women to top EU jobs.

The European Parliament’s economic affairs committee voted by 24 to 23 to recommend that the full parliament rejects Francois-Louis Michaud as the next executive director of the European Banking Authority (EBA) when it meets next week.

Michaud, a senior official at the European Central Bank, told a hearing in parliament last month that he was fully aware of the need for a better gender balance at the EBA, and was willing to commit to appointing more female senior staff at the Paris-based agency.

The first candidate for the job, Irish central banker Gerry Cross, was also rejected by lawmakers in January, though his former role at banking lobby AFME before joining the Central Bank of Ireland, had also raised concerns for some lawmakers.

The vote late on Thursday was a success in the fight for more gender equality in filling top positions in EU financial institutions, Sven Giegold, a member of parliament’s economic affairs committee that held the vote, said in a statement on Friday.

If full parliament rejects Michaud then EBA would have to present lawmakers with a shortlist of at least one male and one female candidate, Giegold said.

“We are disappointed about this outcome and we wait for the decision of the Parliament in its plenary session next week,” EBA said.

The job became vacant after Adam Farkas left to head AFME earlier this year, with lawmakers angered by what they saw as the latest example of a “revolving door” between top EU jobs and the more lucrative private sector.

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