MEPs debated the issue of sexual harassment and violence against women in public spaces on Wednesday evening, with Commissioner Corina Crețu. Everything possible must be done to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice, regardless of their culture or origin, they insisted.
However, some members also pointed out that violence against women is not a new phenomenon in the EU or one that necessarily comes from abroad.
MEPs reiterated their call for an EU directive on combating violence against women, as requested by Parliament in 2014. They claimed that little progress has been made in eliminating violence against women and call on EU member states to ratify the Istanbul Convention as soon as possible. Sixteen out of 28 member states have not yet ratify it.
They also called for more effort to be put into integrating migrants through education and urged that everyone, regardless of their culture or origin, should be encouraged to respect European values.
Background for editors
In February 2014 Parliament passed a legislative initiative resolution calling on the Commission to propose an EU-wide strategy to this end; including a draft law with binding instruments to protect women against violence.
In May 2014 the former Commission replied that it did not consider it appropriate to table a legislative proposal on prevention measures to combat violence against women.
According to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey, one third of women in the EU - i.e. 62 million - have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15.