Missions OperationsEEAS High Representative

Tolerance + 2 rule in European missions?

Taboo(B2) The European sphere is more than silent on cases of sexual harassment practiced within it. If in France, the question is quite taboo, at the European level, it is omerta. At this level, we could even speak of a tolerance which turns out to be far from being the “zero” tolerance officially displayed.

Disciplinary discharge

According to our information, Romeo (not his real name) was employed in a European security and defense mission (CSDP) in the Middle East. Normally, he must offer all moral guarantees of good conduct. That didn’t seem to be, quite, the case. The man was a womanizer. Something which so far should not cause any problems, except when it is a somewhat frenzied race. After a few weeks of “intense” work on his colleagues, he received a reprimand with a detailed report, to the buttocks, which led to the non-renewal of his contract… A sort of “disciplinary evacuation”, the sanction of the European institution (and often the only one) in the event of harassment (1).

…and rehire some time later

This measure, which should have been exemplary, however, did not last very long! After a few months of “purgatory”, our Romeo found a new position. He was… rehired at the Internal Security Forces Support Mission (EUAM Ukraine), based in kyiv, in a position which is not insignificant. Apparently the panel responsible for the selection was not aware of his file - which is surprising - Or it was considered insufficient to justify this rehiring - which would be just as surprising -. Or perhaps it was his nationality (Italian) which justified this inexplicable leniency…

An inexplicable leniency

The question remains. It might be time for the European institutions to pay a little attention to these issues of harassment, before a European-style Denis Beaupin affair breaks out. Certainly the missions and operations of the PSDC are “geographically single” missions. But does this justify a certain leniency on the part of the institution?

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) The European Commission has often practiced silence within itself on acts of professional harassment or sexual harassment, sometimes leading to the sanction... of the victim rather than of the harasser, the subject of a promotion.

Read also on B2 Pro: Discipline within CSDP missions. A lack of action framework?

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).