Tuesday

11th May 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Catalan MEPs lose immunity, slam 'political persecution'

Catalan separatist MEPs Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí lost their parliamentary immunity - a result they have hailed as a "political victory" for bringing the conflict between Catalonia and Spain closer to the heart of Europe.

12-month Future EU Conference is 'impossible', expert warns

The debate about the much-delayed Conference on the Future of Europe so far has been locked in endless institutional infighting over who should lead the event - lowering the expectations about what can be achieved in the coming months.

News in Brief

  1. Israeli rockets kill 20 people in Gaza retaliation
  2. No more EU expulsions likely over Russia bomb attacks
  3. EU ready to ignore Hungary veto on Hong Kong
  4. Borrell admits EU neglect of Western Balkans
  5. Macron accused of 'cowardice and deceit' in military letter
  6. EU citizens in UK applying for settled status face legal limbo
  7. Netherlands gives €2bn to offshore carbon storage project
  8. Germany will allow Johnson & Johnson vaccine for all ages

MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute

The Belgian and Bulgarian prosecutors who were appointed had also not been the experts' first choice. Belgian prosecutor Jean-Michel Verelst has challenged the council's decision at the European Court of Justice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Russia penetrated Merkel's 'inner circle', Khodorkovsky says
  2. First recovery euros could be paid out in July
  3. Commission wants help for Italy after weekend's migrant arrivals
  4. Mercosur trade deal will fuel 'poison pesticides' back into EU
  5. Can new Iran talks avoid mistakes of the original JCPOA?
  6. EU and US urge Israel to defuse Jerusalem violence
  7. Frontex 'mislabelling minors as adults' on Greek islands
  8. Has Albania really met the 15 tests to join the EU? No

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us