UK Labour MEP Arlene McCarthy wondered why nine men accompanied Finance Minister Michael Noonan to Brussels all wearing the green presidency tie, "and you couldn't find a woman to bring with you to the Ecofin meeting".
It fell to Mr Noonan, with his customary dry wit, to put the matter straight.
"We have two women on our delegation today – they're worth all the men put together in my view.
"But we're colour coding the men by putting ties on them. We've rather nice scarves for the ladies."