Zero-tolerance for any form of violence against women, say S&Ds
Despite opposition from the conservatives, the Socialists and Democrats Group led a progressive majority in the European Parliament today on a resolution calling on the European Commission and the EU member states to present a new strategy for gender equality, including proposals to fight violence against women. The issue of ending this violence will be debated later today in the European Parliament in the wake of the events in Cologne.
S&D Group negotiator on gender equality Maria Noichl MEP said:
"So far, the European Commission has considered that equality issues between women and men are only worth a staff working document. This is not enough. Women deserve better. We want a proper communication which covers a wide range of issues such as the gender pay gap, work-life balance, and the place of women in political and economic decision-making. But it seems that the right wing of this Parliament does not want progress.
"The conservatives have opposed our call for action. This is hypocritical and shameful."
S&D Group spokeswoman on women's rights and gender equality Marie Arena MEP added:
"We urge EU member states and the European Commission to take action to combat violence against women.
On New Year's Eve in Cologne, many women experienced horrible and despicable trauma. As Socialists and Democrats, we stand by those victims. Everything must be done to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
"Combating violence against women is unfortunately a daily task. At least one in three women in the EU is a victim of violence. These acts mostly happen behind closed doors at home and not in public spaces. Contrary to what extreme-right MEPs claim, violence against women is not something that comes from abroad. It is embedded in our societies.
S&D Euro MP and chair of the Parliament's women's rights and gender equality committee Iratxe García Pérez said:
"For the Socialists and Democrats, we want a zero-tolerance policy on any form of violence against women. We urge all EU member states to ratify the Istanbul convention which is the only legal instrument to prevent and combat violence against women around the world. At least 16 EU member states including Germany have not yet ratified it.
"We also called on the European Commission to come up with coherent EU legislation to tackle all forms of violence against women. The commission is bound by the EU treaty to act for gender equality. We should hold them accountable; now it is time to deliver."