Eurochild's First Response - Launch of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and Child Guarantee

24 March marks an important milestone in Eurochild’s efforts to put children at the heart of Europe.

Since its establishment in 2004, Eurochild has fought for child poverty and children’s rights to be higher up the EU’s political agenda. With today’s launch of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the European Child Guarantee initiative we have a clear framework for action by the EU and its Member States. Children should also be more visible in the EU’s relationship with accession states, the wider neighbourhood region and globally.

Our job is now to help ensure these initiatives are translated into action that make a real difference to children’s lives.

On the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, Eurochild welcomes:

  • A comprehensive and ambitious Strategy that represents a strong focus on the human rights of children, that was developed with and for children
  • The child-friendly versions launched alongside the Communication, allowing children to be informed and aware of the EU framework that promotes and upholds their rights
  • The Strategy aims to protect and promote the rights of every child in the European Union
  • The six thematic areas and the key actions planned by the European Commission under each priority
  • The creation of an EU Children Participation Platform and the encouragement to Member States to establish new and improve existing mechanisms of child participation at local, regional, and national levels

On the Child Guarantee, Eurochild welcomes:

  • The recommendation that Member States should submit national Action Plans on implementation that involve relevant stakeholders within six months from the adoption of the Recommendation
  • The recommendation for Member States to nominate national Child Guarantee Coordinators, whose role is to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Recommendation
  • The strategic and comprehensive approach to child poverty and social exclusion, and the acknowledgement that they require an integrated, person-centred and multidimensional approach and an enabling policy framework
  • The recognition of the disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on children in need
  • The interlinkage of the Recommendation with other EU policy frameworks, such as the 2013 Commission Recommendation for Investing in Children, the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, the Strategy on the Rights of the Child
  • The focus on six specific groups of children in need, and specifically that children in institutional care and children with migrant background irrespective of their migration status are included
  • The recognition that the Child Guarantee must be sufficiently funded by a range of EU funds, and the specific earmarking of 5% through ESF+ for certain member states
  • That quality of services is emphasised for early childhood education and care, community-based and family-based care, and healthcare
  • The holistic approach to healthcare, including early detection and treatment of diseases and developmental problems, including those related to mental health, access to periodic medical examinations and screening programmes, including dental and ophthalmology, timely curative and rehabilitative follow-up, including access to medicines, treatments and supports, and access to vaccination programmes
  • The emphasis on prevention services for vulnerable children and families, including care leavers, that take into account the best interest of the child and aim at preventing placing children in institutional care
  • The recognition of the importance of effective outreach and information that would reach children in need and their families, and enable them to benefit from the services promoted by this Recommendation.

There are, of course, areas which could have been stronger.  For example, we miss a more comprehensive understanding of early childhood development and regret the lack of reference to maternal health.

Eurochild will carry out more detailed analyses together with its members in the coming weeks and months, reflecting also on how we bring these commitments to life.

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