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European Commission approves gender quotas proposal

The European Commission has adopted Viviane Reding's proposal for a European law that would see women represent 40 per cent of company board members by 2020.

This was announced by Commissioner Reding on twitter this morning.

Malta's Commissioner nominee Tonio Borg said during his grilling by MEPs yesterday that he supported the proposal, which was voted upon by Commissioners yesterday.

Nine EU countries, including Britain, the Netherlands and Malta, made clear their opposition to the law in September. But one of the nine, Bulgaria, has since changed its mind, said one EU source.

The Commission estimates that women currently account for fewer than 15 per cent of non-executive board positions in companies with more than 250 staff.

The new proposal would oblige these companies to favour "the underrepresented sex" from 2016 onward until a share of 40 per cent is reached, a source said.

Member countries would have the power to determine and impose sanctions on firms that did not obey the rule.

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