EU Council asks EU Parliament to ratify the Istanbul Convention

EU Council

The European Council has formally requested the consent of the European Parliament to adopt the decisions on the conclusion by the EU of the Istanbul Convention. Earlier this month the Council adopted the proposal to ratify the Council of Europe convention.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women (‘Istanbul Convention’), which came into force in 2014, is the first legally binding international instrument on preventing and combating violence against women and girls at international level. It establishes a comprehensive framework of legal and policy measures for preventing such violence, supporting victims and punishing perpetrators.  Moreover on 15th February 2023, the plenary session of the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the Council to ensure rapid and full accession to the Istanbul Convention without further delay while also calling upon the six remaining EU countries that have not yet ratified the Convention- to do so.

Several MEPs also strongly condemned attempts in some EU Member States to revoke measures already taken in applying the Istanbul Convention and called on them to fully implement the Convention.

The Convention  has been signed by all EU Member States, and ratified by 21 (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden). EU countries Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia have not ratified the Convention. In July 2020, the Polish government announced its intention to withdraw from the Convention, but this has not yet been enacted.

In 2021, the European Court of Justice issued an opinion, arguing that the council of member states could go ahead with the EU ratification of the convention with a qualified majority in areas where the EU law has competences. EU ratification will send a robust message about the EU’s commitment to eradicating violence against women and establish a coherent European legal framework for doing so.

See further key facts about the Istanbul Convention and legislative procedure for the EU. See also other LSI articles on the Istanbul Convention.