Germany Will Fight EU Plan to Set Boardroom Quotas for Women at Private Companies

By the Associated Press | March 6, 2013 | 8:30 AM EST

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle stands behind his chair at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, March 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's foreign minister says Berlin will fight a European Union proposal to introduce mandatory quotas for the number of women on the boards of private companies.

The plan proposed by European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding in November would require at least 40 percent of the non-executive directors of publicly traded European companies with more than 250 employees to be women by 2020.

But Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle says it's a national issue that Brussels shouldn't be involved in — a stance also taken by Britain.

He says: "Germany will not only not accept such a directive, but we will work actively against it."

The proposed measure still needs approval by EU leaders and the European Parliament.