At the request of the Socialists and Democrats, this morning the European Parliament debated the situation concerning sexual harassment and abuse in Europe and in the Parliament. Following the global outcry #MeToo, cases of sexual harassment and abuse in the European Parliament were also reported by the media. Tomorrow the plenary will vote on a resolution. The Socialists and Democrats have pushed for a tough line and zero tolerance for sexual harassment and abuse, also calling for external experts to assess and give recommendations on how to improve the situation in the Parliament.

S&D Group spokesperson for women’s rights and gender equality, Iratxe García Pérez MEP, said:

#MeToo has unleashed a global wave of real stories from girls and women who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse from their bosses, colleagues, family members or strangers. Women have started speaking up and their voices are being heard.

“The roots of sexual harassment and abuse lie in an unequal society, where one side can misuse the power they have over someone else, where the victims are afraid to speak out and witnesses look the other way. This has to stop. Men have to stand up and take their responsibility to end the impunity. We all have to stand up and call out sexual harassment – not just the victims. We all have to say load and clear: women you are not alone!

“Our group has pushed for the adoption of the Istanbul Convention which clearly states sexual harassment and abuse are human-rights violations, punishable by criminal sanctions. It is shameful that 13 EU member states have not yet ratified the Istanbul Convention. I call on all member states who have not yet done so to immediately ratify the Istanbul Convention, which will help protect women from violence and sexual harassment.

“We also have to clean up our own house. The European Parliament has systems to deal with sexual harassment and abuse, but they are clearly not working. We must make the tools work for the victims and ensure that they have no reason to fear for their jobs. The Socialists and Democrats are calling for independent experts to investigate the situation on sexual harassment and abuse in the European Parliament. Enough is enough.”

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