Friday

22nd Jun 2018

EU campaigners cry foul on sexual harassment

  • Tajani was not in Brussels for International Women's Day (Photo: European Parliament)

Campaigners are claiming the head of the European Parliament does not care enough about women's rights.

They cried foul on social media and in comments to press on Thursday (8 March), International Women's Day, as part of the wider #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, which began last year in the US.

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.

... our join as a group

The group of MEPs, led by German Green Terry Reintke, had wanted to hand the EU parliament head, Antonio Tajani, a petition on Thursday signed by more than 120,000 people calling for a crackdown on abuse against women in EU institutions.

But Tajani was not there to accept it because he was in Madrid.

"President Tajani did not take time today to receive the more than 121,000 signatures calling to stop sexual harassment in the @Europarl_EN! #metooEU," Reintke said on Twitter.

She told EUobserver: "He cancelled the handing over of the collected signatures … on International Women's day. Regarding the relevance that the topic of sexual harassment has and the little progress we have seen in the past months, I find this unacceptable".

Politicians often use agenda excuses to get out of things they do not want to do.

In this case, the #MeToo campaigners used Tajani's agenda to give the impression that he had snubbed them on the big day.

But the details of the story painted the 64-year old conservative Italian in a less negative light.

Reintke told EUobserver that Tajani's office had informed her already on 1 March that he would be in Madrid and unable to accept the petition in Brussels on International Women's Day.

Tajani's office said the same on 5 March, at the start of this week, when the #MeToo group checked in to see if anything had changed.

Reintke, who was herself a victim of sexual harassment in the EU assembly, now aims to set a new date for the handover of the petition.

Her appeal includes demands to set up a central complaints office for reporting harassment cases for all EU institutions and greater accountability for perpetrators.

"I have been sexually harassed, just like millions of other women in the European Union," she said at an EU parliament debate on the issue last October.

She and four other MEPs, at the time, called on Tajani to order an independent audit on the extent of sexual harassment in the EU parliament and to create a "special dedicated committee" on the issue.

But there has been little action on the subject since then, as Tajani ponders whether to quit his EU post to return to Italian politics with the Forza Italia party of former Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi, a notorious sexist, who fell from power amid revelations that he had used underage prostitutes.

Interview

Academic to probe EU's secret law-making

A German PhD candidate has recently started conducting interviews about how the EU's behind-closed-doors 'trilogues' actually work. "Now the fun work starts," he says.

EP in blame game on Zuckerberg meeting format

[UPDATED] Last month's 'hearing' with Facebook CEO allowed him to give only general or evasive answers about the data breach scandal involving Cambridge Analytica - partly due to the controversial format of the meeting.

Visual Data

EU budget: Biggest cuts and increases

The European Parliament accused the EU Commission of not providing clear figures for a comparison of the proposed and the current EU budgets. We take a look at the main differences.

Visegrad Four 'nothing to hide' on rule of law issue

Central European countries say they have "nothing to hide" on rule of law issues - while justice commissioner Vera Jourova said they should agree to the Commission's controversial budget plans on rule of law conditionality.

News in Brief

  1. EU closes deficit procedure against France
  2. Romania's ruling party leader gets jail sentence
  3. EU states defer individual decisions on asylum reforms
  4. Commission opens case on Qatar gas flow
  5. EU adopts posted workers directive
  6. EU leaders to call for 'coordinated plan' on AI
  7. May passes Brexit bill after rebels accept compromise
  8. Pope: populists 'creating a psychosis' on migrants

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us