Staff at the European Parliament will on Tuesday launch a blog on which stories of sexual harassment within the institution will be published, in order to break a “culture of silence.”
Those behind the MeTooEP blog, including parliamentary assistants but no MEPs, said they will start by publishing five anonymous testimonies from “victims of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual assaults within the European Parliament.”
“The time has come to break the culture of silence in our workplace, to support the victims and to encourage them to speak out and share their stories,” according to a press release. They also aim to push the Parliament to implement changes to its sexual harassment policy, which was adopted last year.
How the Parliament investigates cases of alleged harassment has come under intense scrutiny of late. Last year, several female MEPs spoke at a plenary session in Strasbourg about their experiences of sexual harassment, and two petitionswere drawn up to demand changes to the culture and rules of the Parliament.POLITICO also asked people to come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment in the EU bubble.
In October 2017, MEPs drafted a resolution on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU. The text called on the Parliament to set up a “committee of independent experts” to examine the issue, launch an “impartial” investigation into reported cases and “implement the most severe sanctions where necessary, while supporting and providing legal advice to the victims, if the cases potentially involve punishable behavior.”
But Jeanne Ponté, who initiated the MeTooEP project, said almost none of these initiatives have been implemented.
“It’s a not a witch hunt,” Ponté said. “But the blog will help us put better rules in place.”
Ponté said the Parliament’s leadership had established a roadmap to fight sexual harassment inside the Parliament, which featured recommendations that were included in the resolution drawn up by MEPs. “But they have not been implemented … so we are wondering who is blocking them?” said Ponté.