The Council of the European Union today approved the signature of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence on behalf of the European Union. Co-rapporteurs on the Istanbul Convention, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, SV) and Christine Revault d'Allonnes-Bonnefoy (S&D, FR) made the following statement:

"I appreciate the good cooperation with the Maltese presidency and I congratulate them for this first achievement. I regret however that the EU accession is limited to only very restrict areas of the Convention, "said co-rapporteur Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, SV).

"A broad EU accession, taking into account all aspects of the Istanbul Convention will provide a strong legal framework in all Europe to prevent violence, combat impunity and protect women and girls from violence.

I reiterate the European Parliament’s call to the Commission, together with the Council of Europe, to open a dialogue with member’s states on their concerns on the Convention, to encourage them to ratify it and to support a broader EU accession in the Council. Let's continue to join forces at all levels to make it possible, “concluded co-rapporteur Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, SV).


“Today the Council approved the EU signature of the Istanbul Convention and I very much welcome it as a step forward. Time is running out considering that one third of all women in Europe have experienced physical or sexual acts of violence. But, I deeply regret the Council decision not to support the broadest accession possible, which the European Parliament called for,” said co- rapporteur Christine Revault d'Allonnes-Bonnefoy (S&D, FR).

“My top priority is still to ensure that the EU accession does make a real difference in ending violence against women, once and for all. I will now pay close attention to the negotiation of a Code of Conduct defining the cooperation between the EU and its Member States for the implementation of the Convention. I call for a swift and flexible agreement in order for all parties to act efficiently.

 In this time of distrust between the EU and its citizens, the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention is a great example of how the EU has a positive impact on the daily life of its citizens. Together, we will move forward to protect the fundamental right of women to live free from violence wherever they are in Europe, “added Christine Revault d'Allonnes-Bonnefoy (S&D, FR).

 

Background

The Council of Europe Istanbul Convention is the most comprehensive international treaty on combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention was adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011 and entered into force in August 2014.


The European Parliament adopted on 24 November 2016 its resolution on the EU ratification of this instrument calling on Member States which have not yet done so to ratify the Istanbul Convention. They also ask all member states “to ensure proper enforcement of the Convention and adequate financial and human resources to prevent and combat violence against women”.

On 4 March 2016, the Commission proposed that the EU should join the Istanbul Convention, the first legally binding international instrument for preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. All EU member states have signed it, but only fourteen* of them have ratified it.

* Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden have ratified the Istanbul Convention