In this week’s plenary, MEPs are to vote on a crucial decision on gender-based violence (GBV).
The Greens/EFA’s Diana Riba and The Left’s Malin Björk are co-rapporteurs on an ambitious report that aims to add gender-based violence as a new area of EU crimes listed in Article 83(1) TFEU.
The Greens says that by doing so, the EU would have the tools to ensure common legal definitions and standards to prevent and combat all forms of GBV, including violence against LGBTIQ+ persons. The report was approved at the committee level with the support of a progressive coalition made up of The Left, Greens/EFA, S&D and Renew.
However, as this proceeding means a Legislative Initiative of the European Parliament (EP), it requires an absolute majority in the plenary and this is where the role of the EPP comes into play. The progressive coalition in favour of this report represents 356 votes in the plenary, only 3 morethan an absolute majority. “That means that any absence or abstention would de facto mean a vote against the report and the likely dismissal of this historical opportunity for the EU” said Riba and Björk.
The report contains already adopted EP language on sexual and reproductive health and rights but, despite this, the conservative EPP group has changed their line and abstained in committee. According to the rapporteurs, “should the conservative right-wing in this way make the report fall, it would be a terrible blow to women’s rights and against all actors that have worked to end gender-based violence”. At this moment, the most liberal MEPs in the EPP may hold the key to ensure a victory in this vote.
Diana Riba, co-rapporteur for the Greens/EFA said: “The current absence of a comprehensive EU strategy to combat GBV and the disparities in Member States’ national legislation suppose a real problem. That is why it is high time that the EU takes legislative measures. It is necessary to elaborate a Directive urgently to combat this systematic form of violence, and in order to be holistic, inclusive and effective, it must be accompanied by the inclusion of GBV as a new EU crime. We hope that the EPP will be responsible in this critical issue and will not vote together with the intolerant and Eurosceptic far right of the European Parliament.”
Malin Björk, co-rapporteur for The Left said,”GBV is one of our society’s most serious problems and, in this report, we urge the European Commission to step up all its efforts, including legal ones, to combat all forms of physical and sexual violence against women and girls. However, we are getting some worrying signals that some political forces may not support the report as it contains progressive language on abortion rights – as if the right to have an abortion was not an integral part of women’s fundamental rights! Although I expect the vote to be tight, I really hope the parliament can finally come together on this important issue. wnsa