Global support for the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (“Istanbul Convention”) significantly increased today with the official signature by the European Union.
Ambassador Joseph Filletti, Permanent Representative of Malta to the Council of Europe, on behalf of the Presidency-in-office of the Council of the EU, and Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality signed the convention on behalf of the European Union, in the presence of Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.
The signing sends a strong political signal from all 28 EU member states to subscribe to the Convention. It shows the recognition, by the EU, of the importance of the Istanbul Convention as establishing the global norms in this field and thus reinforces its international standing.
So far, 23 countries have ratified the Convention, including 14 EU members (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden). The other 14 EU member states have all signed the Convention.
The EU signing – the first step towards EU accession to the Istanbul Convention – follows the EU Council's adoption of two decisions for the signature: one related to articles of the convention dealing with asylum, refugees and refoulement and another on articles dealing with co-operation in criminal matters.
The EU has exclusive competence to accept the obligations set out in the Istanbul Convention with respect to its own institutions and public administration.