After a brilliant career in Denmark, Margrethe Vestager rose to international fame after confronting multinational corporations' tax-dodging schemes. Among others, she highlighted Apple's illegal tax benefits in Ireland. Today, Brussels is abuzz with speculations that Vestager may succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the President of the European Commission, the Finnish daily newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet daily wrote.
With an overtly feminist agenda, Vestager may become the first woman in this post. In Denmark, Vestager gained fame with her call to revise the public's attitude toward power due to the recent wave of harassment revelations that swept the globe industry by industry.
"I have thought a lot about why so many men are in the position of power and why we express ourselves as we do. Women must crush the glass ceiling and kick in doors. Our language reveals us: power is men's territory and women are merely guests," Vestager explained to Hufvudstadsbladet. According to Vestager, it is time to "renew the language of power," which she described as a "liberation" for men as well.
While Vestager herself admitted that becoming the first woman to become president of the European Commission would be an important milestone, leveling gender balance at other EU institutions is by far more crucial.
"Now, 36 percent of all director generals and their deputies are women. In 2014, it was only 11 percent. I like this development," Vestager said.
I hele vores sprog signalerer vi, at magten er kun for mænd. Vi fortæller hele tiden kvinder, at magtens territorium er et mandeterritorium. Der skal aktiv handling til. Der skal flere ind for at flere kan få lyst til at komme ind, siger @vestager om magt og #metoo #DR2Deadline pic.twitter.com/rwcZBeENfN— DR2 Deadline (@dr2deadline) 18 февраля 2018 г.
As the Danish newspaper Altinget put it, Vestager had "two trump cards and one joker" in the battle for the top post. According to Altinget Jacob Nielsen, Vestager's trump cards were her "international stardom" and her solid chances to become the "top candidate" of Europe's liberal faction. Vestager's "joker" was her opportunity to run in the elections to the European Parliament, strengthening her position as the liberals' leader.
Despite the fact that two thirds of Danish voters would prefer Vestager to keep her position in Brussels, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen cast doubt on her future by recalling that it was Denmark's tradition to let a parliamentary majority to appoint a commissioner. This was interpreted as a clear signal that Vestager doesn't enjoy Copenhagen's support, Altinget wrote.
Vestager was a Danish MP between 2001 and 2014 and led the Social Liberal Party (Radikale Venstre) between 2007 and 2014. She also served as the Minister and Economic Affairs and the Interior. Her subsequent activity as EU Commissioner earned her the title of "the rich world's most powerful trustbuster" and "the world's most feared anti-trust enforcer."
An outspoken feminist, a supporter of the #MeToo anti-harassment movement and a firm believer in financial fair play, Vestager is also known to oppose executives using private jets. Vestager was early to start a Twitter account and has currently 234,000 followers.
Rainbows in Strasbourg — connecting European Parliament and Council of Europe. The beauty of it brings joy! pic.twitter.com/c5hFco71Jb— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) 16 января 2018 г.
According to Hufvudstadsbladet, former Finnish Prime Minister and European Commission Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen and EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier are also mentioned as possible candidates to succeed Juncker.