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Le Monde: Sexual harassment in the European Parliament

The European Parliament also touched on the allegations of sexual harassment on Wednesday held a debate on this phenomenon at the half-empty courtroom, writes the correspondent of Le Monde in Brussels, cécile Ducourtioux.

Scandal Weinstein and the resulting tidal wave of evidence on social networks around the world unleashed languages in the European Parliament. On Wednesday 25 October, he organized a plenary discussion to identify the phenomena that affected more than half of women in the European Union. And in order to discuss your own situation inside this institution women are not necessarily better protected than in other places. The news website in recent weeks gathered a few dozen testimonies of members of the European Parliament with a statement of facts of sexual harassment and even rape have occurred in recent years, reports the journalist.

The socialist leader Edouard Martin was one of the few men who took the word: «there are not more cases of sexual harassment than in other places. But not less. We have a collective responsibility to stop it. We must put an end to the lack of guarantees of employment agreements for our associates, while 95% of our women are fired when they report such facts.»

Cases of sexual harassment involved above all parliamentary assistants. The European Parliament has 751 MP and about 5 thousand of assistants, as on a contractual basis (national employment contract when they work in the countries-members of EU) and non-permanent work, notes Ducourtioux.

In the Parliament of Strasbourg has an internal structure: «the Committee against sexual harassment», but he has not received any «formal complaints of sexual harassment,» according to Antonio Tajani, the Chairman of the meeting. «The problem is that there are a number of young women told us that they did not know about the existence of this Committee,» explained Maia de La Baume, the journalist Politico that a few weeks of investigating sexual harassment in the European Parliament.

Frenchwoman Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (party «Republicans), who heads the Committee against harassment on Wednesday tried to defend the institution, offering a variety of shifts: «We must make progress in the liberalization of the certificates. For this we need to create a network of trusted individuals to help the victims to speak. Not talking about the incident, the victims are ashamed. We need a mediator between the institution and the victims. Finally, I think that everyone here was aware of what he risks in the case of sexual harassment».

The only representative of the European Commission in the plenary debate, Commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmstrom has expressed doubt: «there are Already many laws and codes of conduct, we must focus on their proper execution», – said Swedish female politician.

Le Monde: Sexual harassment in the European Parliament 27.10.2017

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