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In the wake of the worldwide #MeToo-campaign, MEPs today debated how to combat sexual harassment and abuse in the EU and within the EU institutions. Tomorrow, the European Parliament will adopt a resolution which strongly condemns any form of sexual violence and calls for a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment and abuse. Members will call on the EU institutions and Member States to better enforce EU laws prohibiting sexual harassment and to take all possible further measures to effectively prevent and end this systematic violation of fundamental rights.
Sophie in 't Veld, first Vice-President of the ALDE Group, said after today's debate:
"I am pleased the European Parliament is having a public debate on the issue of sexual harassment. This is essential for creating awareness. Everyone has loudly condemned violence, intimidation and abuse in recent weeks, but we should not go back to business as usual after the debate. We have to ensure that we practice what we preach and put our own house in order. We have to keep the debate going, in Parliament, in our political groups and in our delegations."
"We must also tackle sexism. Sexism isn't harmless, it lowers the threshold for harassment and ultimately violence. Sexist jokes are not funny. They are just sexist and degrading. It is time women are treated with respect. Like the old adage: If the girl says no, she means no. It is as simple as this."
Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, member of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and shadow on this topic, added:
"Sexual harassment happens everywhere, also here in the European Parliament. This is just unacceptable. All of us have to speak up and express our support to the victims."
"We urgently have to make sure that existing legislation is sufficiently and swiftly applied and that all further necessary steps are taken to improve the current situation, be it in the EU institutions or anywhere else in the EU.
"But we also clearly need a shift in our culture and societies, a shift towards a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to any kind of sexual harassment or violence. The EU institutions and Member States must speed up negotiations on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women."