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EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers debate European Protection Order

On Friday 4 June, EU ministers for Justice and Home Affairs will meet to discuss a Spanish Presidency proposal for a European Protection Order (EPO). If political agreement is reached, EU-level judicial cooperation could be extended to mutual recognition of national protection orders by 2011.

The Spanish EU Presidency, in line with the work programme of the Trio Presidency of Spain, Belgium and Hungary, has made combating violence against women a key priority of its time at the helm of the Union. In January, Prime Minister Zapatero delivered a proposal for a European Protection Order, together with an EU-wide telephone helpline and a European Observatory on violence against women, backed by 11 other member states.

As Spain’s Presidency enters its last month, civil society organizations fear the current momentum to address violence against women at EU level will be lost unless all the EU member states commit to delivering concrete measures over the coming months.

The European Protection Order key to protect women victims of violence

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL), the biggest umbrella organization of women’s associations in the EU, is lobbying strongly for an agreement on 4 June to move ahead on the EPO. ‘The European Protection Order is essential to protect victims of violence across the EU, including women victims of male violence, as well as to prevent discrimination and ensure freedom of movement between member states’, says Brigitte Triems, President of the EWL.

Violence against women affects approximately 45% of all women across Europe. An estimated fifth of women in the EU suffer from domestic violence and more than one in ten women is a victim of sexual violence involving the use of force: in the UK, 80 000 women experience rape or attempted rape; in Ireland, one in five women is raped in marriage; in France, one woman is killed every three days by her partner. Victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and of female genital mutilation are further examples of the violence women and girls need protection from throughout our countries.



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EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

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