European Parliament ratifies Istanbul Convention despite criticism from conservatives


European Union


While some see the Istanbul Convention as a means to protect women, others argue that the Convention is a way to support the LGBT community. Photo Toms Kalnins

The European Parliament ratified the European Union joining the Istanbul Convention. Parts of this agreement would thereby extend to conservative member states that have refused to sign the controversial Convention so far.

The EU has signed but not yet formally ratified the treaty, thus being not a formal part of the Convention. Conservative member states like Hungary and Slovakia have never taken that second step themselves, nor do they want the EU to do so. The Convention is a promotor for equality advocates for transgender and LGBT people, they argue. Although supporters of this Convention, which was opened for signature in 2011, see it as a step forward in protecting women’s rights, opposers view the Convention as a disguise for enforcing controversial gender-equality policies. Therefore, several European countries, including Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, have not signed the Convention. Poland, meanwhile, is threatening to pull out, while Turkey withdrew in 2021.

Still, the European Union ratified this legally binding international mechanism for preventing violence against women and domestic violence six years after signing of the Istanbul Convention. Because of the opposing opinion within Member States, the EU had been reluctant to ratify the Convention thus far. The governments of most member states are also expected to agree on the Convention, which is enough to be formally part of the Convention formally.

This ratification does not enforce the entire Istanbul Convention in the six EU member states that did not want it. It only applies to areas where the EU has jurisdiction, such as some agreements on asylum and judicial cooperation.



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.