Pesterijen in het Europees Parlement

De klacht tegen Assita Kanko werd geseponeerd.

Dit is wat EurActiv over het thema schreef enkele weken geleden:

Anyone who has worked in the European Parliament has horror stories about the small but significant number of MEPs and officials who are abusive, bullies, or sexual predators.

The proof lies in the data collected by the MeTooEP campaign, which surveyed 1,001 respondents earlier this year and found that 48.4% of Parliament staff say they have experienced psychological harassment in their workplace.

Another 15.9% have experienced sexual harassment, and 6.7% have experienced physical violence. 

That some lawmakers are also terrible employers should not surprise anyone. 

Politics is a tough and ruthless business which attracts people and working practices that operate at the limits of acceptability.

The European Parliament, like other political institutions and, often, the media, has tended to embrace that sense that they are ‘special workplaces’ to which normal rules do not apply.

That creates a culture of impunity which means that the bad apples are never rooted out and goes some way towards explaining why, in the wake of the MeToo campaigns, the Parliament has been slow to reform its working practices. 

MEPs say that they are in the process of overhauling their internal structures on how they tackle abuse and harassment, agreeing earlier this week to create a new mediation service in Parliament led by a Head Mediator.

The service is to be independent, neutral, and impartial. MEPs would also be required to attend a training course on “how to create a good and well-functioning team”. 

That’s all well and good, though MeTooEP complains that the new regime will not, as it currently stands, establish an external and independent audit or sanction MEPs who fail to follow the mandatory training. 

Trade unions and staff committees have been representing their members in the EU institutions for several decades. But the lack of independent mediation, the slow pace of processing claims, and the inherent bias of the system in favour of MEPs and the Parliament have always limited their effectiveness. 

“As long as the internal decision-making power of the European Parliament lacks transparency, true change will continue to be challenging to achieve,” says MeTooEP. 

That, along with mandatory anti-harassment training for all MEPs and a sanctions regime with teeth, is vital to root out abuse and malpractice. 

The nature of the relationship between MEPs and their staff is such a personal one that if that relationship breaks down, for whatever reason, the logical outcome is for the official to leave.

While creating a statute for parliamentary assistants treats them as EU civil servants, these political appointments are in a different category to permanent officials. 

That being said, the politicians who legislate for over 400 million Europeans are not above the law. Instead of officials comparing horror stories, it’s time the parliamentary dinosaurs with reputations for bullying and harassment were made extinct. “