The young woman, an employee of the European parliament, was starstruck when one of its senior figures — a man of nearly 60 — entered a lift alone with her. But then he started touching her, whispering indecently in her ear.
“He was stroking my hair, then my neck, going down my back . . . I just froze, I was petrified,” she said.
“I told my colleague, who said I should report him, but in the end I didn’t . . . I was afraid of losing my job, of facing the embarrassment and ruining my career.”
The harasser, a married father of two, remains a prominent MEP. His victim is one of more than a dozen junior female staffers interviewed by this newspaper who say they have been sexually harassed by MEPs. The scandal over Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer, has emboldened them to speak out.
There’s a definite strand of the European Parliament which regards the stagieres as a girlfriend farm for a few months. There being a certain silliness to it as well. Some of them are star struck enough to welcome such attentions, thus it not being necessary to be aggressive about it.