Age of consent must be 16.

Age of Consent must be 16 years. Malta is the other European country which defines 17 as the age.
This is a breaking issue for me.I would not vote any other way irrespective of pressure. I have my self-respect. This another issue where party whips are inappropriate. The issue of age of marriage and other customs varied from place to place and sometimes were unbelieveably young. Even today, arranged marriages are very common in eastern Asian societies and in Eastern Europe. I think it senseless to criminalise conventional sexual activity in a 16 year old. I am totally unmoved by those who claim otherwise. Qualifications about age of partners should be looked at the the german law is interesting in that regard.

In 1994, the minimum age of 14 years for all of Germany was kept, and in building on legal traditions of both east and west states, sexual acts committed by a person above 21 with a minor under 16 involving exploitation of the minor’s individual lack of capacity for sexual self-determination were made punishable in new § 182. In general, the need for complaint of the former West German law was kept, but in case of special public interest the offence was made prosecutable ex officio as had been the case in East German law.

I think the law on prostitution and child pornography should be strengthened as it applies below 18 years of age.

The following I take from Wikipedia –

In the 12th century Gratian, the influential founder of Canon law in medieval Europe, accepted age of puberty for marriage to be between 12 and 14 but acknowledged consent to be meaningful if the children were older than seven. There were authorities that said that consent could take place earlier. Marriage would then be valid as long as neither of the two parties annulled the marital agreement before reaching puberty, or if they had already consummated the marriage. It should be noted that Judges honored marriages based on mutual consent at ages younger than seven, in spite of what Gratian had said; there are recorded marriages of two and three year olds.[2]
The American colonies followed the English tradition, and the law was more of a guide. For example, Mary Hathaway (Virginia, 1689) was only nine when she was married to William Williams. Sir Edward Coke (England, 17th century) made it clear that “the marriage of girls under twelve was normal, and the age at which a girl who was a wife was eligible for a dower from her husband’s estate was nine even though her husband be only four years old.”[2]
Reliable data for when people used to marry is very difficult to find. In England for example, the only reliable data on age at marriage in the early modern period comes from records which involved only those who left property after their death. Not only were the records relatively rare, but not all bothered to record the participants’ ages, and it seemed that the more complete the records are, the more likely they are to reveal young marriages. Additionally, 20th and 21st centuries’ historians have sometimes shown reluctance to accept data regarding young ages of marriage, and would instead explain the data away as a misreading by a later copier of the records.[2]
A small group of Italian and German states which introduced an age of consent in the 16th century also set it at 12 years. Towards the end of the 18th century, other European nations also began to enact age of consent laws. The French Napoleonic Code established an age of consent of 11 years in 1791, which was raised to 13 years in 1863. Nations such as Portugal, Spain, Denmark and the Swiss cantons, initially set the age of consent at 10–12 years and then raised it to between 13 and 16 years in the second half of the 19th century.[3]
In the United States, by the 1880s, most states set the age of consent at ten or twelve, and in one state, Delaware, the age of consent was only seven. Women reformers and advocates of social purity initiated a campaign in 1885 to petition legislators to raise the legal age of consent to at least sixteen, with ultimate goal to raise the age to eighteen; the campaign was successful: by 1920, almost all states had raised the age of consent to sixteen or eighteen.[4][5]
Social (and the resulting legal) attitudes toward the appropriate age of consent have drifted upwards in modern times. For example, while ages from 10 to 13 were typically acceptable in western countries during the mid-19th century,[1] the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century were marked by changing attitudes towards sexuality, childhood and adolescence, resulting in raising the ages of consent.
In Canada the age of consent is 16, but there are two close-in-age exemptions: teenagers who are 14 or 15 may have sex with a partner who is less than five years older, and children aged 12 and 13 may have sex with a partner who is less than two years older. In the United States, these exceptions are colloquially known as “Romeo and Juliet” laws.