Dominique Strauss-Kahn is set to speak at the European Parliament in about a week, but in an echo of his Cambridge appearance, several lawmakers objected to his even being allowed inside the building, showing his return to European political life is not happening.
Three female members of the European Parliament wrote a letter to Martin Schulz, the body's president, asking him to not only cancel Strauss-Kahn's appearance but to bar him from the parliament altogether, saying the invitation for him to speak was "clearly indecent" and noting that "Women‘s associations, warned of his coming, are already highly mobilized," according to a DPA report picked up by the news portal Europe Online.
The former International Monetary fund director looked poised for at least a low-key return to public life in Europe, with two speaking engagements in March following a high-profile December economic address in Beijing. At one point last summer, Socialist Party presidential candidate Francois Hollande even suggested Strauss-Kahn could play a role as an adviser, though that never happened.
But while Strauss-Kahn didn't face protest in China, his first European appearance earlier this month at the Cambridge Union Society, brought out throngs of angry women's rights activists. The protesters there said giving a platform to the former IMF director accused of sexual assault in New York and under investigation for conspiracy in a prostitution ring in France legitimized sexual violence. Similarly, the protesting EU lawmakers wrote that "offering a platform to Mr. Struss-Kahn at this juncture would be premature and highly inappropriate, as long as the criminal investigation is ongoing."
Strauss-Kahn is set to speak on March 27, but the protests and outrage that meet his European public appearances make it look very unlikely that he'll be asked to make many more speeches.