European Protection Orders (EPOs) are cross-border protection measures enabling victims to avoid contact with offenders. But only seven have ever been issued, despite thousands of national protection orders.

The issue was discussed on February 27 by the European Parliament’s Gender Equality and Civil Liberties Committees. The MEPs adopted a report assessing the implementation of the European Protection Order (EPO) Directive which was transposed into national law three years ago.

The MEPs agreed the EPOs can neither function correctly nor safeguard victims until fully enforced by all member states.

They also called on the Commission to coordinate programmes to initiate awareness-raising campaigns to inform victims of crime of the possibility of applying for an EPO and about cross-border protecting measures.

“Considering the high number of victims of interpersonal violence and women that joined #Metoo, it seems unrealistic that only seven people have needed an EPO,” said co-rapporteur Soraya Post (S&D, SE). If the EPO works correctly, it can save tens of thousands of lives. In the European Agenda on Security, there is not one line about interpersonal violence as a priority. There is only focus on external threats. We have to change the security policy so that it includes personal safety and prevention of gender-based violence as priorities.”

In turn, co-rapporteur Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio (PPE, ES) said: “In an EU without borders, victims of crime should feel safe in whatever member state they reside or move. The EPO is an instrument that guarantees that safety.”