Procedure : 2017/2897(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0577/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 25/10/2017 - 4
CRE 25/10/2017 - 4

Votes :

PV 26/10/2017 - 10.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0576/2017

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU (2017/2897(RSP))

Ska Keller, Ulrike Lunacek, Florent Marcellesi, Terry Reintke, Judith Sargentini, Ernest Urtasun, Monika Vana, Molly Scott Cato on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

European Parliament resolution on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU (2017/2897(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular Articles 8, 19, 157, 216 and 218 thereof,

–  having regard to Articles 21, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 31(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995, and to the subsequent outcome documents adopted at the United Nations Beijing +5 (2000), Beijing +10 (2005), Beijing +15 (2010) and Beijing +20 (2015) special sessions,

–  having regard to UN instruments on human rights, especially those concerning women’s rights, such as the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Protocols thereto,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (hereinafter the ‘Istanbul Convention’),

–  having regard to the European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020) adopted by the Council of the European Union on 7 March 2011(1),

–  having regard to Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation(2),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 on implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services(3), which defines and condemns harassment and sexual harassment,

–  having regard to Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2017 on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2014‑2015(6),

–  having regard to the EU guidelines on violence against women and girls and combating all forms of discrimination against them,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2017 on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion, by the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence(7),

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation in different contexts, including at work, are acts of violence against women; whereas violence against women is a brutal form of discrimination and a violation of human and fundamental rights;

B.  whereas one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence during their adult lives; whereas up to 55 % of women have been sexually harassed in the EU; whereas 32 % of all victims in the EU said the perpetrator was a superior, colleague or customer; whereas 75 % of women in professions requiring qualifications or top management jobs have been sexually harassed; whereas 61 % of women employed in the service sector have been subjected to sexual harassment; whereas 20 % of young women (between the ages of 18 and 29) in the EU-28 have experienced cyber harassment; whereas one in ten women have been subjected to sexual harassment or stalking using new technology;

C.  whereas cases of sexual harassment and bullying are significantly underreported; whereas, in many cases, women fail to lodge complaints against acts of gender-based violence and sexual harassment; whereas 25 % of women who do not report sexual violence to the police choose not to do so out of shame; whereas 20 % do not want anyone to know and 10 % believe the police could not or would not do anything;

D.  whereas tolerance and acceptance of sexual harassment and abuse persist at all levels; whereas there is a worrying prevalence of the tendency to blame the victim;

E.  whereas the Istanbul Convention defines gender-based violence as violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately;

F.  whereas sexual harassment has been defined in Directive 2004/113/EC as any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment;

G.  whereas harassment and sexual harassment are contrary to the principle of equal treatment between men and women and constitute discrimination on grounds of sex;

H.  whereas gender stereotypes, sexism, sexual harassment and abuse have physical, sexual, emotional and psychological consequences for the victim;

I.  whereas the unequal distribution of power between men and women, gender stereotypes and sexism, including sexist hate speech, offline and online, are root causes of all forms of violence against women;

J.  whereas bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace, private and public spaces and political life are both the cause and consequence of gender‑based violence, inequalities and gender stereotypes;

K.  whereas gender equality is the responsibility of all individuals in society and requires the active contribution of both women and men; whereas the authorities should commit to the development of education campaigns directed at men and the younger generations, with the aim of involving men and boys as partners, gradually preventing and eliminating all forms of gender-based violence and promoting or empowering women;

L.  whereas violence and harassment in political life disproportionately target women; whereas such violence constitutes a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the obligation to ensure that women can freely participate in political representation;

M.  whereas the Istanbul Convention calls for the criminalisation and elimination of sexual harassment against women and requires the Parties to take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that any form of unwanted verbal, non‐verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment, is subject to criminal or other legal sanction;

N.  whereas all Member States have signed the Istanbul Convention but only 15 have ratified it;

O.  whereas disaggregated data collection is essential to design appropriate policies to combat sexual harassment and to monitor their effectiveness;

Zero tolerance and the fight against sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the EU

1.  Strongly condemns all forms of sexual violence and physical or psychological harassment and deplores the fact that they are too easily tolerated, whereas in fact they constitute a systemic violation of fundamental rights and a serious crime that must be punished as such; stresses that impunity must end by ensuring that perpetrators are prosecuted;

2.  Calls on the Member States to fully implement the Istanbul Convention, including by setting up a system of disaggregated data collection, which includes data broken down by the age and gender of the perpetrators and the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, and which includes sexual harassment;

3.  Calls on the Member States to criminalise sexual harassment in all forms and to engage in prevention policies, education and awareness‑raising campaigns to ensure that the zero tolerance approach becomes the norm;

4.  Calls on the Member States to unblock the Women on Boards Directive; highlights the responsibility of the Commission to do everything in its power to achieve progress in this field; points out that a lack of diversity and a discriminatory working culture increase the likelihood of cases of sexual harassment occurring; emphasises, therefore, the importance of increasing the proportion of women at all levels of decision making;

5.  Calls on the Commission to present, as a matter of the utmost urgency, a proposal for a directive on violence against women, which places the human rights and protection of all victims at its centre;

6.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote training and capacity‑building for victim support in all matters related to harassment – both online and offline – among the police and judicial authorities, as well as for the provision of psychological support during court cases related to the issue;

7.  Highlights the central role of all men in committing to change and ending all forms of harassment and sexual violence, by fighting against the circumstances and structures which enable, even passively, the behaviour that leads to such acts and by reporting any misconduct or inappropriate behaviour;

8.  Highlights that education systems and the media have a major influence in relation to gender differences and, correspondingly, in relation to choices and access to rights; requests the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to considerably increase their efforts to eliminate stereotypes and promote stereotype‑free access for all to education and employment; points out that advertising can be an effective tool in challenging and confronting stereotypes and a lever against racism, sexism and discrimination, essential in today’s multicultural societies;

9.  Calls on the Member States to include awareness‑raising about sexual consent and sexual harassment as compulsory components of their educational systems;

Sexual harassment in the European Parliament

10.  Strongly condemns all forms of sexual violence and physical or psychological harassment: calls for the EU institutions to show leadership in presenting a zero tolerance action plan and implementing a zero tolerance policy towards any form of harassment, including robust and sustainable support structures for all who have had to experience any form of harassment;

11.  Condemns the cases of sexual harassment that have been revealed in the media and expresses its strong support towards the victims of sexual harassment and abuse; stresses that, in order to be taken seriously, it is crucial for the EU institutions to firmly stand against any form of gender discrimination or any action that hinders gender equality;

12.  Calls for a committee of independent experts to be convened with a mandate to examine the situation of sexual harassment and abuse in the European Parliament, and resolves to launch an impartial investigation into the cases reported and to implement the most severe sanctions where necessary, while supporting and providing legal advice to the victims, if the cases potentially involve punishable behaviour;

13.  Calls for Parliament’s relevant bodies to evaluate and, if necessary, revise the functioning of the Advisory Committee dealing with complaints of harassment between Accredited Parliamentary Assistants (APAs) and Members; calls for the reinforcement of the Advisory Committee on Harassment and its prevention at the workplace and for the setting up of a special dedicated task force on sexual harassment, including a legal adviser and medical staff representatives, to investigate formally lodged cases, to maintain a confidential register of cases over time, and to adopt the best measures to ensure zero tolerance at all levels in the institution;

14.  Resolves to fully support victims in procedures within the institution and/or with the local police, to initiate emergency protection or safeguarding measures where necessary and to fully implement Article 12(a) of the Staff Regulations, ensuring that cases are fully investigated and that disciplinary measures apply;

15.  Resolves to ensure mandatory training for all staff and Members on respect and dignity at work in order to ensure that the zero tolerance approach becomes the norm; calls for the institution’s full engagement in awareness‑raising campaigns involving all Members and services of the administration, with a special focus on groups in the weakest positions, such as trainees, APAs and contract agents; calls for the setting up of an institutional network of confidential counsellors to support and advise victims, as is the practice in the Commission;


°  °

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the national parliaments, the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.


OJ C 155, 25.5.2011, p. 10.


OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.


OJ L 373, 21.12.2004, p. 37.


OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 57.


OJ C 407, 4.11.2016, p. 2.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0073.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0329.

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