Children’s State of the European Union
As European Commission President Von Der Leyen reflects on the last year in preparation of the State of the European Union speech, Eurochild congratulates the EU institutions for committing to delivering children’s rights with the adoption of 2 child-specific policy initiatives earlier this year.
The EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the EU Child Guarantee have been long time in the making. They offer a clear framework and push to help countries repair the damages of the COVID-19 pandemic and invest in children. Eurochild is working with its members to ensure that the Child Guarantee national action plans are effective in setting the right path for implementation. Learn more about why we think this is a landmark initiative.
We want children’s views to be heard on decisions that affect them. That’s why we are proud to have worked with UNICEF and civil society colleagues to enable over 10,000 children to express their views on the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child. We continue to support children’s participation with several members engaging children to verify the child-friendly version of the Strategy in various languages. Read more about our hopes from the EU Strategy.
Fixing the damages of the pandemic on children
The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on children and young people’s mental health, with those already disadvantaged by poverty, discrimination or disability being least likely to receive the necessary support. Distance learning, a new normal, has been an additional challenge for children who lack the necessary resources and support. The recovery efforts must prioritise the most vulnerable in society to avoid widening existing inequalities. More equal societies are better equipped to withstand future shocks, and without a doubt there will be future shocks.
Hostile environment for children’s rights advocates
Unfortunately we know several Eurochild members are battling for children’s rights in hostile environments. Czechia, which was recently reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, seems resistant to recognizing children as rights-holders, and few of the UN Committee’s recommendations from 10 years ago have been implemented. The situation resonates with the opposition our members face across the region (read our June statement about Hungary’s recent reform of child protection act). We stand in solidarity with our members and count on EU leaders to promote human rights and support civil society within the EU.
Together with members, we want to ensure these initiatives build a momentum for change that lasts throughout and beyond the mandate of this European Commission.
Blog by Jana Hainsworth, Eurochild Secretary General