The European Parliament has today taken action against the Spanish socialist MEP Mónica Silvana González for having harassed three of her assistants at work. The complaints, filed almost two years ago, have been evaluated by the corresponding internal bodies, which have finally concluded that González is guilty, and that he will be penalized accordingly.
“His conduct towards three attendees constitutes psychological harassment,” the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, announced to the plenary at the beginning of today’s session. The sanctions, in accordance with the regulations in force, consist of the suspension of the payment of allowances and the prohibition to participate in parliamentary activities.
The accumulated punishment for the three detected cases rises to 30 days without collecting the corresponding stipends for attending the institution (338 euros a day to cover accommodation in Brussels or Strasbourg) and as many vetoes to their participation in the work of the chamber . The sum of diets that González will stop receiving exceeds 10,000 euros. The rules allow, however, that, during the time that the punishment lasts, MEPs maintain their right to vote.
Iratxe García: “We do not know the content of the investigation but we respect it”
The advisory commission that internally evaluates complaints about workplace harassment has listened to the affected MEP, explained Metsola. The internal regulations of the chamber provide that, “in the appreciation of observed behaviors, its exceptional, recurring or permanent nature must be taken into account, as well as its seriousness”. The “possible damage inflicted on the dignity and reputation of Parliament” will also be assessed. The identity and circumstances of the harassed attendees are unknown. The Spanish socialist delegation in the European Parliament works with a group system of assistants and on the deputy’s website there is only one name associated with her personally, in addition to a long list of collaborators available to all PSOE parliamentarians.
“We do not know the content of the investigation carried out by the advisory committee but we have the utmost respect” for its conclusions, declared the head of the European socialist group, Iratxe García Pérez and leader of the Spanish delegation, at a press conference from Strasbourg. The formation of her, has advanced, will apply to the affected MEP the same sanctions that the European Parliament has adopted against her.
The accumulation of complaints and criticism led the European Parliament to reinforce controls in 2018
González, who was informed of the decision yesterday afternoon, has published a statement today in which he describes the facts communicated by Metsola as a “false complaint” and has announced that he will appeal the decision, which will suspend the application of the sanctions until the internal procedures are exhausted. The MEP has specified that the complainants are “former employees” – sources familiar with the case clarify that they lost their jobs as a result of their complaints – and ensures that they have not had the “minimum procedural guarantees” during the two years that the investigation has lasted, which has described the process as “unfair”; As proof of these statements, she alleges that on the panel that has evaluated her case, made up of three MEPs, there is an assistant from the extreme right group or that the testimonies of her current employees have not been taken into account.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1976, Mónica Silvana González has been an MEP since 2019. She is currently a member of the Development Commission as well as the delegations for Relations with Mercosur and in the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly. In recent months, González has stood out for his defense of the rights of the residents of San Fernando de Henares (Madrid) affected by the construction of a new metro line.
The accumulation of internal complaints and accusations of inaction led the European Parliament in 2018 to reinforce its response mechanisms to this type of situation and a tougher punishment of its members for improper conduct, which before ended at most with a reprimand . The case of Mónica Silvana González, pending however possible appeals, is for now the most serious of those detected by the European Parliament since the reinforcement of the advisory committee that evaluates possible cases of workplace harassment.
Pending appeal, González’s case is the most serious of those evaluated by the advisory committee on workplace harassment
Previously, in January 2021, President David Sassoli punished Luxembourg MEP Monica Semedo (Liberal) with a 15-day suspension of allowances and participation in parliamentary activities for her conduct with an assistant. In 2018, Antonio Tajani took action against the Portuguese socialist MEP Maria João Rodrigues, although her case remained a rebuke.