Slovakia opposes EU accession to Convention preventing violence against women


  • Zuzana Gabrizova


Editorial use only Violence against women, conceptual image., Image: 474658658, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: , Model Release: no, Credit line: Science Photo Library / Sciencephoto / Profimedia
Science Photo Library / Sciencephoto / Profimedia

Ilustration: Violence against women

Slovakia's government parties fight against the accession of the EU to the Convention on preventing violence against women without previous unanimous decision of member states. Considering that it’s a priority for the new Commission, Bratislava and Brussels are expected to be on collision course. EURACTIV Slovakia reports.

The Slovak National Council has adopted a resolution asking the government to inform the EU Court of Justice, other relevant EU and Council of Europe´s (CoR) institutions “without delay” that Slovakia will not ratify the Istanbul Convention and “does not agree with European Union becoming a party to Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence without previous unanimous agreement of all member states of the EU.”

Meanwhile, the European Parliament passed on the same day a resolution calling on the Council and the remaining countries – besides Slovakia also Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and the United Kingdom – to speed up the ratification of the Convention.

The Slovak parliament demands that the government states its position before the Court of Justice of the EU, in a case brought by the European Parliament in September 2017, concerning the question on whether the EU can accede the Convention also without previous explicit consent of all members states. The Court of Justice has already asked Slovak Ministry of Justice for an opinion, which, according to MPs, the Ministry failed to deliver.

The EU signed the Convention in June 2017. New EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has made it clear that the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention is a priority for her executive. Moreover, the mission letter to Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli acknowledged that this may be blocked in the Council. In this case, other measures envisaged in the Treaties should be explored, the mission letter reads. Among them a proposal to add violence against women to the list of EU crimes.

The resolution of the Slovak Parliament comes weeks after a horrendous murder of a 34-year-old woman shocked the country and heightened the sense of insecurity among women in the capital. A young woman was found in the Bratislava river port, and her body was disposed on a ironstones rubble.

She was hypothermic, badly beaten, her ankles and vertebra broken and brutally sexually abused. She was discovered in the morning by a port worker and died during the transfer to the hospital. The police, which failed to inform the public at the time, has not proceeded to any arrest while a thorough investigation of the location, where she was found, only came a week after the crime.

When the Minister of Interior, Denisa Saková, was asked whether she would like to relay a message to women after the incident, she called on women “to approach men and socialise with greater prudence”. “It is important to review men better, because nice behaviour does not have to reflect the interior of a person,” she added.

A 2016 shocking opinion poll has showed that 40% of respondents in Slovakia deem rape (sexual intercourse without consent) justifiable in some circumstances. This number is also high throughout Europe, as the average ration of people with this opinion is 30%.