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Istanbul Convention adopted by EU only in part, without provisions promoting gender ideology

Published: 12.05.2023

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· The European Parliament has passed a resolution agreeing to conclude the Istanbul Convention in its entirety for EU institutions and in part for member states.

· The document is controversial due to some provisions promoting gender ideology.

· The EU's accession to the convention would allow EU institutions to impose financial penalties on countries for "inadequate" implementation of its provisions.

·  Contrary to the reproduced narrative, the European Union has acceded to the Istanbul Convention in a very limited way, excluding provisions promoting gender ideology.

·  Member states will only be able to be held accountable by the Union for compliance with the convention's provisions on the cases of foreign asylum seekers, deportation and criminal justice cooperation.

·  The Ordo Iuris Institute has prepared an analysis on the legal implications of recent EU decisions on the Istanbul Convention.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, signed in Istanbul in 2011. (known as the Istanbul Convention for this reason) is controversial because it was based on so-called gender ideology, which questions the biological differences between men and women, recognizing them as the cause of harmful stereotypes. The act instead promotes the notion of "socio-cultural gender," according to which each person is free to decide whether or not he or she belongs to a certain sex, based solely on his or her subjective beliefs. The Istanbul Convention sees the sources of violence in the differentiation of female and male roles accepted in society. It ignores other pathologies of social life, such as addictions, the breakdown of family ties and the sexualization of images of women and girls in the media. Despite these doubts, 21 EU member states have ratified the convention (including Poland), while six member states have refused to ratify it. Among the latter is Bulgaria, where in 2018. Constitutional Court declared the convention unconstitutional. According to Ordo Iuris, the Istanbul Convention is also incompatible with the Polish Constitution, which the Institute wrote about in a report indicating that Poland should denounce it.

For several years, the European Union has been systematically working to incorporate the Istanbul Convention into the EU legal order. However, it cannot do so without the consent of all member states. In the face of opposition from a blocking minority of countries, in 2017. The Council of the EU decided to sign some provisions of the Istanbul Convention - for those provisions that fall within the exclusive competence of the European Union.  To be bound by them, therefore, does not require the consent of all member states, but only a majority of them. Consequently, the Council of the EU, on behalf of all states, signed only a few provisions of the Istanbul Convention. Articles 60-61 (concerning the rules for processing foreigners' applications for asylum in a country and the so-called "non-refoulement principle" prohibiting the expulsion of foreigners to countries where they risk death or torture) and the Convention's provisions relating to criminal justice cooperation were signed. In the latter case, the Council did not specify which specific articles it has in mind (but one can guess that it is referring to Articles 62-65, from the chapter entitled "International Cooperation"). The provisions mentioned do not promote gender ideology. The EU acceded to the entire Istanbul Convention only on behalf of its own institutions (the EU official apparatus).

In early 2023. The EU Council requested the European Parliament's approval to conclude the Istanbul Convention in its entirety with binding effect on its own institutions and public administration, and in part with binding effect on member states. In May, the European Parliament passed a resolution giving its consent to the conclusion of the Convention to the extent indicated. Now the final stage of the procedure will be a Council decision, after which the convention will become part of the EU legal order.

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