The European Parliament demands that the EU deploy all its firepower to fight against sexist violence in a homogeneous way in all corners of the community bloc. In a resolution voted on Thursday, the European Parliament requests that these crimes be defined “as a new criminal area” of Article 83 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, which includes the so-called Eurocrimes, including terrorism or corruption. . The initiative, which has come forward with 427 votes in favor, 119 against and 140 blank, puts pressure on community institutions to enact specific legislation focused on victims and aimed at “preventing and combating all forms of violence. gender ”, in line with the provisions of the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe agreement for the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence. None of the 13 MEPs of the PP has supported the resolution: 12 have abstained and one has voted against. All four of Vox have rejected the proposal.
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One in three women in the EU has experienced physical and / or sexual violence, according to statistics provided by the European Parliament. Around 50 women are murdered each year in Spain in episodes of gender violence and 75% of women in the professional environment declare having suffered sexual harassment. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Wednesday, during her State of the EU speech, that she will propose a law on sexist violence before the end of the year.
The debate and the vote in the Strasbourg hemicycle have revealed deep divisions in some families of the European parliamentary arch, and even within them, according to latitude and longitude. Socialists, liberals, greens and the left have voted massively in favor. But the popular have come fractured, as the Spanish case has shown, and have included in the text a minority opinion in which they claim to share “the objectives” of the article, but with reservations: “We are concerned that some of the parts of the text remain outside the competence of the Union and that, therefore, the entire file is put at risk ”.
At present, this crime is recognized and punished very unequally among the Twenty-seven, causing notable differences in access to justice depending on the territory. This first take of political temperature in the European Parliament is an announcement that it will not be easy either to agree to the different member states to carry out a measure of this importance when it comes to negotiating it within the Council (where the 27 member states are represented ). In addition to the resistance of countries such as Hungary or Poland, where the illiberal turn has become more acute in recent years, the Council would have to agree with other states such as Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania, which have not even ratified the Istanbul Convention, approved in 2011 and ratified by Spain in 2014.
With the resolution, the parliament calls for gender-based violence to be considered “a particularly serious crime with a cross-border dimension”. But the political struggle has centered around the very definition of sexist violence. One of the most divisive articles in the text has to do with the inclusion of the denial of voluntary termination of pregnancy within this criminal category. “The denial of legal and safe abortion is also a form of gender violence,” the text clearly states, underlining that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled on several occasions on this matter: “The restrictive legislation on abortion and the lack of application violates the human rights of women ”. The resolution points the finger at Warsaw for taking steps backwards in this area, strongly condemning the setback in women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and the de facto ban on safe and legal abortion in Poland.
The resolution also considers that “LGBTIQ + people are also victims of gender violence because of their gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual characteristics”, and specifies that these crimes affect “women and girls in all their diversity and LGBTIQ + people ”. This violence, she adds, “stems from the desire to punish those who are considered to violate social norms of gender hierarchies, gender expression and binary gender systems” and “aims to establish, apply or perpetuate inequalities of gender. gender and reinforce gender norms and stereotypes ”.
Abstention of the popular Spanish
“Our abstention is a yes to fight against violence against women in all corners of the European Union, to point out and prosecute the abuser,” the Spanish delegation of the PP explained after the vote through a statement. “But it is a no to the left using it politically and adding amendments that are against the right to life and are linked to gender violence.”
“The legislation is extremely unequal between countries, which means that women cannot access the same protection and justice simply when crossing a border,” says María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, Podemos MEP and vice president of the Commission on Rights of Women and Gender Equality in the European Parliament, which has given rise to the resolution. Rodríguez Palop has celebrated that its inclusion in the articles of the EU treaties “would be a good tool to harmonize the definition of crimes and their penalties.”
During the debate on the initiative, Margarita de la Pisa, from Vox, justified her vote against calling the measure an “unfounded ideological occurrence” and assuring, as the far right often reiterates in this matter, to be “against any aggression or violence”. In Spain, the delegate of the Government against Gender Violence, Victoria Rosell, has pointed out the importance of this step: “Symbolically, politically and socially it elevates sexist violence to the place where it should be, as one of the priorities of the European Union” , informs Pilar Alvarez. The delegate believes that the decision of the Europarliament “may have an immediate positive impact on the persecution of an alleged aggressor who decides to flee within the space of the European Union and the ease of both European detection and protection orders.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.