19 Of 751 MEPs Sign Up For Harassment Course

Of the 751 members of the European Parliament, just 19 have signed up for a pilot training course on how to recognize and prevent harassment at the workplace, according to euobserver.com

The first of the courses begins on Wednesday (7 November).

A spokeswoman of the parliament revealed to EUobserver by email the figure – representing 2.5 percent of all parliamentarians.

While the course is voluntary and designed as a trial run for a future training course, the number of MEPs who signed up stands in stark contrast with the number of MEPs who said they supported such remedies.

A resolution supported by 580 MEPs in October 2017 said that there should be mandatory training for MEPs to increase awareness of sexual harassment.

In September, a smaller share of MEPs, but still a large majority of 528 MEPs supported another text which said “training on sexual and psychological harassment should be compulsory for all staff and members of parliament, including the European Parliament”.

On 9 October, an invitation email was sent to MEPs, with six possible time slots for the training – two on Wednesday, and four in December.

It was not immediately clear from the parliament spokeswoman’s email if the 19 who signed up are attending one of the two pilot training courses on Wednesday, or one of the six.

“The European Parliament has pledged to become a workplace that combats inappropriate behavior, including psychological and sexual harassment,” the invitation email said.

“If you believe that you can have a role in making this happen, sign up to this training course designed for MEPs,” it said.

“As a participant, you will be able to shape the training course, to be offered to all MEPs in the future,” it added.

On Tuesday (6 November), a reminder email was sent to say there were still places available on Wednesday.

The pilot course was set up in response to the 2017 resolution, which in turn was triggered by the #Metoo movement.

The parliament spokeswoman noted that the course was about all types of harassment, not only sexual harassment.

According to the invitation letter, the course had been designed as part of the “Roadmap for preventive and early support measures dealing with conflict and harassment”, a plan endorsed by the parliament’s Bureau – but kept secret by the parliament’s secretary-general.

The Bureau is the organization responsible for the internal workings of the parliament.

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