"The time has come to move from words to action! Too many women and girls are still being harassed, abused and raped in Europe in public places, at home and now even on social media. It is time to give a voice to those women and girls to break the vicious circle of silence and fear and shift the guilt from the victims to the perpetrators. The accession of the EU to this text will strengthen the legal framework to prevent violence, combat impunity and protect women and girls”, declared Anna Maria Corazza Bildt MEP, Rapporteur on the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention, adopted today with a large consensus at the European Parliament’s plenary in Strasbourg.

The Istanbul Convention obliges countries to improve the protection of the victims of violence and condemn the perpetrators. It also paves the way to criminalising violence against women (physical or psychological), reinforce police powers to keep attackers away from their home, and make shelters available for the victims. The Report welcomes the EU’s signing of the Istanbul Convention but regrets that it is restricted to only two areas of full EU competence: judicial and police cooperation in criminal law, asylum and non-refoulement. The Report also addresses a set of recommendations to the Council, the Commission and Member States to cover the prevention of violence, the fight against discrimination, or criminal law measures to combat impunity.

"It is our duty to protect innocent victims and I find it unacceptable that only fourteen EU Member States have ratified the Convention so far. Indeed, I reiterate the European Parliament’s call to the Commission, together with the Council of Europe, to open a dialogue with the Member States to ratify the Convention and to support a broader EU accession in the Council. I also call on the Institutions to encourage Member States to share updated data on violence against women with Eurostat. It is an important tool that could be used to save the lives of many women and girls", said Barbara Matera MEP, EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur in the Civil Liberties Committee.

"We need to join forces to combat stereotypes and sexism against women and girls. Religion, tradition or culture can never justify men's violence against women. It's about empowering women and girls and promote gender equality in our societies. The EPP Group will continue to be committed to zero tolerance for violence against women and girls", concluded Corazza Bildt.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 216 Members from 27 Member States

Anna Maria Corazza Bildt will hold a press conference on the subject this afternoon at 15.00 hrs, Room LOW N-1/201, European Parliament, Strasbourg

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