Welcome on behalf of the European Commission by Karen Vandekerckhove
The participants were welcomed on behalf of the European Commission by Karen Vandekerckhove, Head of the Gender Equality Unit of DG Justice and Consumers. In her speech she highlighted several recent Commission initiatives and successes, among others the Work-life Balance Directive which entered into force in August 2019. She also reiterated the European Commission’s strong commitment to seeing the EU become party to the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Noting that more than ten years have passed since the draft EU Horizontal Equal Treatment Directive, she underlined the fact that the Commission is more committed than ever to seeing this Directive adopted. Last but not least, she stressed the importance of the decision by the European Commission to appoint, for the first time ever, a Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, who has among her responsibilities the development of the new Gender Equality Strategy and binding measures for pay transparency.