Gender-based violence is a terrifying reality for many European women.
The incoming European Commission is looking to change that.
For the first time, there will be a European Equality Commissioner who has made it a priority to protect the victims and punish the offenders of gender-based violence.
The woman in charge of this dossier is Helena Dalli. She was the first Equality minister in her own country, Malta.
Her objective is to add violence against women to the list of EU crimes defined in the Treaty.
"Of course [gender-based violence] is a crime. We can't have people who are living their lives in fear, whether it is physical violence, whether it is psychological violence, whether it is economical violence,” Dalli said.
According to the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, 43% of women have suffered psychological violence by a partner and 20% have suffered physical violence.
50 women each week are murdered by a partner or ex-partner in the European Union according to the European Women’s Lobby.
"It's horrifying really to see that we have been working on this area of policy for so many years. But the reality remains that the numbers keep increasing and this is what we know. Because we know also that many cases are not reported,” Dalli said.
The Commissioner wants all EU members to ratify the Istanbul Convention, an international commitment to tackle domestic violence, and there are still 6 countries that have not done it.
The goal is to facilitate cross-border persecution and to develop mandatory legislation at European level.
And other news in brief...
The European Union pledged to better support developing countries.
The meeting between EU Foreign and Development ministers in Brussels highlighted the cases of Ethiopia and Sudan.
This comes after a study showed only 10% of EU money goes to developing countries in need
In 2016, the EU and Ethiopia signed a "Strategic Engagement" that committed both to work in close cooperation.
Today the European Council approved the list of nominees for appointment as members of the new European Commission under Ursula von der Leyen.
This paves the way for the vote of consent in the European Parliament on the entire Commission as a body.
MEPs will cast their vote on Wednesday.