Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Fitzgerald secures historic deal for new landmark EU Directive to combat Violence Against Women
Member States’ exclusion of rape is wrong and the campaign continues
After months of tough negotiations with the Council of the EU, MEP Frances Fitzgerald, has today, Tuesday February 6th, secured an historic deal for a new EU law to combat Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.
This first-ever piece of EU legislation focuses on the protection, prevention, and prosecution of Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence in Europe. This Directive will give women the same level of protection across Europe regardless of the Member State they reside in.
Speaking in Strasbourg this evening, MEP Fitzgerald said, “With this agreement, the crimes of female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, the non-consensual sharing of intimate or manipulated material, cyber stalking, cyber harassment, the unsolicited receipt of sexually explicit material, cyber incitement to violence or hatred will herald a new era in the fight against violence for over 450 million citizens in the EU.”
“However, Member States failed in their responsibilities to protect women by refusing to include the most heinous crime of rape based on lack of consent in this Directive – my MEP colleagues and I are bitterly disappointed by this decision. Women deserve better.”
“In my negotiations with the Council, working with my colleague, Evin Incir MEP, we succeeded in securing an Article in the Directive, which recognises for the first time at EU level, that rape is defined by a lack of consent by referencing the importance of preventing rape and addresses the issue of consent comprehensively through including new mandatory awareness campaigns across the EU.”
“This is not the end of this campaign but just the beginning – this Directive will act as a stepping stone for legislators to make the crime of rape based on the lack of consent an offence in the next European Parliament. The fight continues.”
“As public representatives, MEPs now have a duty of care to the women of Europe to adopt this Directive swiftly so it can enter into force and begin to end the scourge of violence against women across the EU.”
MEP Fitzgerald added, “It is also very heartening for the younger generation of European women that this Directive is so strong on cyber-crime with the standalone offence of the non-consensual sharing of intimate images included.”
MEP Fitzgerald concluded by saying, “It is critical to complete this Directive, which includes many new criminal offences, within the lifetime of this Parliament. At present we have a most uneven, mixed and inadequate response to violence against women across Europe. Member States will now have a European Directive to guide their work in this area - it will be central to the journey of change. This Directive means that violence against women will receive a higher political and policy response from governments across Europe.”
Conor Glynn +353 83 386 6022