[Brussels, 21 September 2012] On 21 September, the European Economic and Social Committee ’(EESC) organised a conference on the issue of one of its latest opinion, ‘Eradicating domestic violence’. Speakers from the EU institutions and agencies were invited to present their work. The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) was also there to highlight its recommendations towards a Europe free from all forms of violence against women.
21 September being the International Day of Peace, Cécile Gréboval, Secretary General of the EWL, reminded participants and speakers that peace is now about making it possible for women to live free from any form of male violence. Speakers from the European Commission, the European Institute for Gender Equality, the Fundamental Rights Agency and the Council of Europe, presented their work against violence against women, demonstrating that the issue is high on the EU political agenda, nevertheless failing to be apprehended from an integrated and comprehensive approach. As Mikael Gustafsson, Chair of the EP Women’s Rights Committee pointed out, “the EU needs a comprehensive strategy to address this pervasive violation of women’s rights, as requested or promised by all three EU institutions”. Mário Soares, EESC member and rapporteur of the EESC own-initiative opinion, supported this demand and added that the EU needs to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
During the discussion, the issue of under-representation of women was highlighted as one root cause for the perpetuation of violence against women and the lack of political commitment to eradicate it. “Political decision-makers are mainly men; we need to challenge them as why they are not signing the Council of Europe Convention!”, said Madi Sharma, EESC member and Cahir of the EESC study group on domestic violence.
The EWL congratulates the EESC for this conference, which allowed to have all key EU players in one room; “the issue of violence against women has been debated for years; it is now time to transform words into action; we have no time!”, concluded Anna Maria Darmanin, Vice-President of the EESC.