Today in Strasbourg, a sizable majority of MEPs voted to support sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), gender equality, and the empowerment of women as key aspects of the EU’s next seven-year budget plan for external relations. MEPs voted by 420 to 145 votes to sign-off on the European Parliament’s position on the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI).
Speaking after the vote in Strasbourg, Cecile Vernant, head of EU Office at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW), said: “We’re delighted that MEPs approved the hard-won negotiation on the NDICI file, and that they resisted call to remove important and supportive language on issues to do with sexual and reproductive health and rights. It shows that the EU is living up to its international commitments to women and girls around the world.”
The final report, drafted by MEPs Pier Antonio Panzeri, Cristian Dan Preda, Frank Engel, Charles Goerens, was adopted in plenary session by the European Parliament. The NDICI will cover EU spending on external, neighbourhood, and development policy between 2021 and 2028.
Caroline Hickson, Regional Director for IPPF EN, welcomed the outcome: “Sexual and reproductive health care saves lives. Without it there can be no equal protection for women and men. It is fantastic that the European Parliament has voted to uphold the right of young men and women around the world to lead safe and dignified lives, free from coercion and harm.”
Neil Datta, of the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights added: “Europe has a responsibility to take up a global leadership role on this issue, and this vote today is an important first step. This vote shows how important it is that we continue to work vocally in support of these issues, particularly as the European elections in May 2019 may usher in a political climate that is even more hostile to sexual and reproductive health and rights and issues of gender equality. However, we hope that following the European elections in May 2019, and the installation of a new European Commission at the end of the year, that the commitments made in Strasbourg today are not diluted.”