Saturday

22nd Sep 2018

MEPs demand external probe into parliament sex abuse

  • Female staffers at the EU Parliament risk sexual abuse and harassment by male MEPs (Photo: EUobserver)

A group of MEPs are demanding an external probe into allegations of sexual harassment at the European Parliament following a report of abuse of young female staffers in the Sunday Times newspaper.

The article described the European Parliament as a "hotbed of sex harassment" following revelations a number of male senior MEPs had abused around a dozen female aides.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Names of the the alleged perpetators have been kept from the public, although the Times newspaper did mention Yves Cochet, a former French environment minister and Green party MEP.

The demand for an external investigation from the five MEPs also calls for a special committee on sexual harassment to help the victims and ensure the assailants are brought to justice.

On Monday (23 October), EU Parliament president Antonio Tajani said that it was "with shock and indignation" that he had learned of the allegations of sexual harassment.

He said people can already report the abuse to a special advisory committee of MEPs and promised "to further increase awareness of the facilities already in place."

The committee has yet to receive any formal complaints but Tajani said the issue would be discussed among group party leaders.

The allegations cited in the Sunday Times are serious.

A senior MEP masturbating in front of a young assistant, a German MEP groping his assistant on her behind, another taking photos and sending them at night.

They are also widespread.

Politico Europe says it has so far collected the testimonies of 87 women and six men.

The news portal has set up a special website to collect more testimonies for those who want to come forward.

Politico notes some of the allegations collected so far include trading sex for legislative favours and work contracts, among others. Over half of them are from people working in NGOs or in the private sector.

Last year, and in a separate case, French liberal MEP Robert Rochefort was arrested for masturbating in public near the presence of children at a hardware store. He pleaded guilty.

MEPs to investigate Ukip brawl

The European Parliament's ethics committee will try to establish what happened between Mike Hookem and Steven Woolfe, who will remain in the hospital until Sunday.

'Sex pest' scandal claims UK senior minister

Defence minister Michael Fallon resigned over sexual harassment allegations, amid a growing scandal that could weaken the government in the middle of crucial Brexit talks.

EU campaigners cry foul on sexual harassment

An MEP taking a lead against sexual harassment in the European parliament says Antonio Tajani should have remained in Brussels to accept a petition for EU wide reform.

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president

Europe must have a robust foreign policy and nurture high-tech industries, Slovak EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic has said in his bid to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next EU commission president.

Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president

Europe must have a robust foreign policy and nurture high-tech industries, Slovak EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic has said in his bid to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next EU commission president.

'Every group split' ahead of EU copyright vote

Political groups in the European Parliament are split about how to vote for a directive that would reform the EU's copyright regime - amid warnings that freedom of expression and creators' rights are at risk.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us