March 8, 2018 / 1:59 PM / 9 months ago

Europe's new top cop says she's used to breaking glass ceilings

FILE PHOTO: Catherine De Bolle, head of the Belgian federal police, addresses a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium’s police chief Catherine De Bolle was named as Europol’s new executive director on Thursday, another first for a woman who says she is getting used to taking on roles traditionally held by men.

When she became Belgium’s first female Federal Police commissioner in 2012, de Bolle said she had thought “the glass ceiling was broken” but she acknowledged that there was still a persistent gender imbalance in her field.

“I have always been the first (woman) in most of the jobs I have done,” she told EU ministers at Thursday’s Justice and Home Affairs Council.

Her biggest challenge at Europol would be to balance the needs of individual member states with those of the bloc’s institutions, she said.

De Bolle’s appointment falls on International Women’s Day, an annual celebration of the movement for women’s rights.

She takes over from Rob Wainwright at the European Union’s law enforcement agency on May 1.

Reporting by Samantha Koester; Editing by Louise Ireland

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