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POLITICS

Macron calls to add abortion and climate protection to EU Charter

French President Emmanuel Macron told the EU Parliament that he would seek to enshrine the right to abortion and environmental protection into the EU charter.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the EU parliament.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he would push for the right to have an abortion and environmental protection enshrined in the EU charter. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday he would push to have the right to abortion and defence of the environment added to the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, as his country takes on the bloc’s rotating presidency.

“We must update this charter to be more explicit on protection of the environment, the recognition of the right to abortion,” Macron told lawmakers at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France.

READ MORE What does it mean for France to take over EU presidency?

“Let us open up this debate freely with our fellow citizens… to breathe new life into the pillar of law that forges this Europe of strong values,” he said.

The call to enshrine a woman’s right to abortion in the European Union’s charter, ratified by member states in 2000, comes just a day after the parliament elected Malta’s Roberta Metsola, a staunch abortion opponent, as its president. 

Macron nonetheless congratulated Metsola on her election in his opening remarks, acknowledging her belief in “our Europe, this Europe sustained by the values that bind and unite us.”

He also urged lawmakers to accept “this task of ours, and surely of our generation, to respond profoundly to the renewal of its promises.”

Macron also said on Wednesday that Europeans needed to build a new “security and stability framework” that would require “strategic rearmament” as well as “frank and demanding” talks with Russia.

“We need to build it between us Europeans, share it with our allies in NATO, and propose it for negotiation to Russia,” he said. 

Member comments

  1. It’s not a ‘Europe of strong values’. Far from. It’s a Europe of compromises. And when something is too difficult to compromise on , it’s left unfinished, like the single currency. The Catholic conservatives of Eastern Europe will not agree with Macron on abortion and consequently he’s setting up a fight he can’t win. The real question is why would he do that.

      1. Perhaps seeing what is happening in the US and the attack on women’s rights all over the world has triggered Macron, no doubt suggested by lawyers, to make sure some things are laid down in law.

        Codified law is always stronger than law through jurisprudence, judges’ statements. That is the main difference between legal systems in Europe, and subsequently South America and former Eastern Europe, including Russia, and the Anglo-saxon world. In the US they only need to overturn one judge’s ruling, which is easier than retracting a decades old law, debated in parliament and voted on by elected officials.

        Although abortion seems to me last resort when anti-conception has failed. Therefore a right to (free) anti-conception would seem more positive.

        1. In Poland, abortion on demand is seen as akin to euthanasia. There is no possibility that they would agree to Macron’s suggestion.

          1. It’s worth a try though. Draw clear boundaries around what is considered civilised in Europe. It seems that Trump’s people visit Hungary to see how they can copy his strategy in moving from a democracy into an authoritarian state. That shows, I would think, that we don’t take Hungary as the starting point for our own policies. And, it needs just one election, and Hungary could be back on the road to democracy again.
            I think it’s good Macron and France do something ambitious, and not just six months of “care-taking”. Otherwise it’s an example of “don’t stand up, you’re rocking the boat”.

    1. Perhaps he’s doing it because he believes that women should have a right to decide what they want to do with their own body’s, and good luck to him.

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POLITICS

Newly appointed French Minister faces rape allegations

The final composition of the new French government was announced on Friday. A new investigation suggests that historic rape allegations against a newly appointed minister were ignored.

Newly appointed French Minister faces rape allegations

It didn’t take long for scandal to hit the France’s new government.

An investigation by Mediapart published the day after the final list of ministerial positions was announced revealed that two women have accused one of the appointees of rape. 

READ MORE Who’s who in France’s new government?

Damien Abad, the new Solidarity Minister denies the allegations and a police investigation into one allegation was dropped in 2017. But another could be about to open. 

Who is Damien Abad? 

Damien Abad is a 42-year-old son of a miner from Nimes in southern France who became the first handicapped MP to be elected in 2012. He has arthrogryposis, a rare condition that affects the joints.

Prior to his appointment as the Minister for Solidarity, Autonomy and Disabled People, he was the leader of the France’s right-wing Republicans party in the Assemblée nationale

What are the allegations? 

Two alleged victims, who didn’t know each other, told Mediapart that Abad raped them on separate occasions in 2010 and 2011.

The first woman described meeting Abad for dinner after having met him weeks earlier at a wedding. She said she blacked out after one glass of champagne and woke up in her underwear in a hotel bed with Abad the next morning fearing she had been drugged. 

A second woman who lodged a formal charge against Abad in 2017 said that he harassed her by text message for years. She eventually agreed to meet with him one evening. After initially consenting, she told him to stop – but her plea fell on deaf ears as Abad raped her. 

What does Abad have to say? 

The new minister denies the accusations.

“It is physically impossible for me to commit the acts described,” he told Mediapart – in reference to his disability. 

He admitted to sending “sometimes intimate” messages, but said he had “obviously never drugged anyone”. 

“I was able to have adventures, I stand by my claim that they were always consensual.”

Is he under investigation? 

The second alleged victim made a formal allegation against Abad in 2017. 

A subsequent investigation was dropped later that year after a “lack of sufficient evidence was gathered”.

Mediapart report that Abad’s entourage were not questioned by police and that the MP told investigators that he had no memory of the alleged crime. 

The first alleged victim flagged the abuse to the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics – an unofficial watchdog monitoring elected bodies – earlier this month. 

The Observatory has since brought the case to the state prosecutor, but it is unclear if another investigation will be launched.  

Who knew? 

The tone deaf appointment of Gérald Darmanin as Interior Minister in 2020 was controversial because at the time he was under investigation for rape. His nomination was met with street protests in Paris and elsewhere. Feminists accused (and continue to accuse) Emmanuel Macron of not taking sexual violence seriously. 

The investigation into Darmanin’s alleged crime has since been dropped.

Some will question whether the naming of Abad shows that lessons have not been learned. 

“Once again a minister  in the government of Emmanuel Macron accused of rape,” said Caroline De Haas, the founder of the #NousToutes feminist movement. 

The Observatory sent a message warning senior party figures in the Republicans and LREM about the allegations on Monday – prior to Abad’s nomination. 

France’s new Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne denied having any knowledge of the warning. 

“I am going to be very clear on all these questions of harassment and sexual violence, there will be no impunity,” she said during a visit to Calvados. 

“If there are new elements, if the courts are summoned, we will accept the consequences.” 

READ MORE Who is Élisabeth Borne, France’s new PM?

The Observatory meanwhile claims it has been ignored. 

“Despite our alerts, Damien Abad who is accused of rape has been named in government. Thoughts and support to the victims,” it tweeted

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