As I wrote yesterday, within the European Parliament a planned attendance of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the IMF, faced some opposition in the EP. It seems the campaign against his appearance reached its goal: the event, formerly featuring Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), Jean-Claude Juncker and Jean-Claude Trichet now only features the latter two. Without much ado a new version of the invitation was sent around:
Not much else changed in the description of the event and there was no reference in the new version of the invitation to the change or the reason for the change. The only hint comes from the twitter feed of organiser Alvaro, “#DSK announced that he has to decline coming to the #EU40 event on March 27. Juncker and Trichet will still be on the panel. #EU40.”
The BBC sums it up in their Eurozone crisis live blog:
While we’re waiting for the main speakers at the house committee…. disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has cancelled plans to speak at the European Parliament next week. Disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has cancelled plans to speak at the European Parliament next week.
Strauss-Kahn had been invited to take part in a debate on the financial crisis alongside eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker and ex-European Central Bank boss Jean-Claude Trichet.
But the invite prompted a flurry of complaints from MEPs. Hungarian socialist MEP Zita Gurmaï and Belgium’s Isabelle Durant, European Parliament vice president, denounced “a show based on scandal”.
With a planned attendance just a day before his court hearing it should have been obvious to organisers and DSK alike that the event could not go smoothly. Euractiv describes the reactions:
What is certain is that the invitation triggered a flurry of angry statements.
Spanish MEP Esther Herranz García (European Peoples Party) bluntly presented her resignation from the ‘EU40′ circle to its president, Alexander Alvaro (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Germany). In a letter seen by EurActiv, she writes that she decided to resign because she doesn’t accept “attitudes that can be perceived as degrading with regard to women”
I’m split on how I view the whole scene: On the one hand accusations shouldn’t rob a man of his voice and his right to speak, and, without doubt, Strauss-Kahn could have provided valuable insight into the crisis for decision makers. On the other hand it shows a certain disrespect to invite a figure such as DSK to an event to the European Parliament – a place, after all, that should protect its citizens and ought to maintain at least a certain dignity. The best solution would probably have been what Derk van Eppink wrote in his public letter: He didn’t ask to disinvite DSK, but suggested a probably more balanced solution:
Therefore, I find his appearance in the European Parliament inappropriate and
premature. I am afraid it will mainly damage the reputation of our institution amongst
the public. The European Parliament should not offer a platform for the rehabilitation of
a public figure still under criminal investigation.
I therefore urged our President to contact the organisers and ask them to relocate
the event to a premises outside of the Europan Parliament.
Category: Politics (EN) | Tags: accusations, Alexander Alvaro, Derk van Eppink, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, DSK, EP, Esther Herranz García, EU, EU40, European Parliament, European Union, gender issues, IMF, Isabelle Durant, opposition, protest, public outcry, rape, sexual harassment, Zita Gurmaï 2 comments »