Brussels, 21 November 2018
Dear Mr Johnson,
On behalf of the European Economic and Social Committee, I am appalled by the op-ed published in the latest Parliament magazine and signed by Madi Sharma, also a member of the EESC.
The EESC will under no circumstances comment on unfounded and misleading accusations.
Acting as a pioneer amongst the other institutions, the Committee has over the past two years continued to apply the formal and informal procedure as foreseen in the internal administrative framework in view of preventing and dealing with psychological and sexual harassment at work.
I myself, in the capacity of President since April 2018, have taken action and reassured Committee members and staff in many occasions, including at the last Plenary.
Contrary to what Ms Sharma insinuates, the EESC and its President have zero tolerance towards to any form of harassment or discrimination. There is no "silence" but full respect of the legal and administrative provisions: Violating the confidentiality of the victims, as Ms Sharma is doing will be an infringement of EU law.
Because the investigations are still ongoing, you would agree that it is essential to respect in full the rights of potential victims on the one hand, and the presumption of innocence and the right of those accused of such acts to defend themselves on the other. It is a matter of upholding respect for inviolable ethics.
Ms Sharma is ill-informed also on the series of procedures, both formal and informal that the EESC has put in place since May 2016. These include the protection for people who submit whistleblowing reports and other types of complaint. All whistleblowers get immediate administrative support and feedback by all levels of the administration and whenever necessary also psychological support in respect of the duty of care.
"Contrary to what Ms Sharma insinuates, the EESC and its President have zero tolerance towards to any form of harassment or discrimination. There is no "silence" but full respect of the legal and administrative provisions"
In October, the EESC has adopted an opinion on ‘whisteblowing’. As I stated, during the last plenary session, our institution must set an example. This is why, I have asked the Bureau to agree that our institution look into how we can strengthen existing provisions and remedy any shortcomings. Action has already been taken to ensure that happens.
Let me assure you, as I gave my word to members and staff, that the line of conduct pursued by the EESC and its administration places the bar at the highest possible level when it comes to the protection of the dignity in the workplace, in strict compliance with the principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
I would have expected no less from a professional media. I hope I will be proven wrong when I will see this letter published in your columns as an answer to the unfounded accusations coming from a member of the EESC.
View the original letter from EESC President Luca Jahier here