Romanian EU Presidency to host Children’s Summit on the Future of Europe

Children’s right to participate in decisions that affect them has been taken up as a priority of the Romanian Presidency of the European Union.

Under the authority of the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice, the National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights and Adoption plans to organise a ‘Children’s Summit’ on 6-7 May, only days prior to the Sibiu Summit on the Future of Europe.  It will gather children and adults from across Europe to discuss and adopt a children’s declaration and supporting document outlining what the EU can do to deliver children’s right to participate.

At a preparatory meeting of experts on 26 February, four youth ambassadors of the EU Presidency took the floor.  As a 16 years old student from Brăila said in his intervention “can we speak of a future European Union if children are not empowered and encouraged to participate in decisions that affect them?”

At the meeting Eurochild facilitated a discussion on what mechanisms could be envisaged in the different EU institutions to give life to its existing commitment to children’s rights.  Participants brought proposals for new and reinforced structures that will give children access to processes in the European Parliament, Commission and Council. These ideas will be taken forward, both in the upcoming European Forum on the Rights of the Child organised by DG Justice of the European Commission on 3-4 April, and later at the Children’s Summit in May.  

It is hoped that Romania’s EU Presidency will leave a strong legacy on child participation that can be picked up by future EU Presidencies, as well as the next generation of MEPs and Commission leaders. The results of the Europe Kids Want survey will provide important input to the deliberations, as will the Children’s Board established in Romania to discuss and put together the Children’s Declaration, under the guidance of UNICEF Romania.

Members of Eurochild with long-standing experience of enabling meaningful child participation at local and national levels joined the expert meeting. Eurochild looks forward to bringing this expertise to the benefit of the Romanian government and UNICEF Romania with whom it shares a common ambition of building a culture of child participation as the foundation for a strong future of Europe.