Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls
Delivered in Plenary - 6th February 2013
I doubt there is a single decent-minded politician who would not welcome efforts to combat the scourge of violence against women and girls. Despite the progress of the last fifty years it is shocking that violence against women continues to be perpetrated in every country in the world, including even children, such as the recent case in Pakistan.
The statistics are sobering. Up to 70% of women worldwide are thought to experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Even in the United Kingdom an estimated nine women are raped every hour.
I therefore wholeheartedly endorse the UNís efforts to tackle this problem everywhere. The only problem is one of EU universality. While the EU must do all it can, the specific causes, cultures and circumstances of violence against women and girls differ greatly across the Union. An over-prescriptive EU directive I would oppose, as it would be a blunt instrument to tackle a problem which is best dealt with by the individual Member States in cooperation with the European Union. But deal with this issue we must.