Slovenian Presidency Conference on the Child Guarantee urges Member States to take action!
Eurochild played a prominent role in the conference organised by the Slovenian Presidency to call on EU member states to set up their European Child Guarantee national plans
On 9 November 2021, the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (Council) held a high-level conference on the European Child Guarantee Initiative, aptly named “Equal opportunities for every child”. The event discussed how EU Member States should translate the Council Recommendation on the Child Guarantee into action at the national level. The event included the participation of national and international policymakers, researchers and members of the civil society, including Eurochild.
The conference timely testified that we are living a crucial momentum in the development of the Child Guarantee. The Council adopted the Recommendation in March 2021 and passed on the baton to the EU countries, which are expected to draft national Child Guarantee National Plans by March 2022.
The Child Guarantee is a unique opportunity to make a difference in tackling child poverty and social exclusion, and to boost national policies and investments in the sector. It is thus fundamental to ensure that all EU countries take advantage of this opportunity and contribute towards the successful realisation and implementation of these Plans.
The conference was characterised by many important interventions. The Portuguese Minister Ana Mendes Godinho, for example, underlined that no child is an island and that failing to protect a single kid is a failure and an offence for the whole society. The Slovenian Minister Cigler Kralj made a strong call for the preparation of action plans, saying that it is now up to the EU countries to live up to their commitment in implementing this crucial initiative.
The French Secretariat of State, Adrien Taquet, confirmed the French commitment in this field (France will hold the Presidency of the Council from January to June 2022) and emphasised the necessity to invest more in early childhood development. You can find more info on the other interventions here.
Notably, all the Child Guarantee National Coordinator recently nominated by the EU Member States had the opportunity to follow the rich discussion and take inspiration for their crucial work on the drafting of the Child Guarantee National Plans.
Eurochild played a prominent role throughout the event:
- Our President, Her Excellency Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, was invited to speak in the introductory panel. She highlighted the necessity for governments to act and take advantage of this unique opportunity to protect children and build a sustainable and fair Social Europe. She also stressed the crucial role played by investments in early childhood development. In her concluding remarks, H.E. Coleiro Preca underlined that child poverty represents a burden on Europe’s future prosperity and stability, and that children require and deserve a strong and sincere political commitment.
- Eurochild’s work on DataCare was presented by Stela Grigoras, Child Protective Specialist and Programme Manager of the Child Guarantee Feasibility Study Phase III at UNICEF. The study demonstrates that EU Member States’ data for children in alternative care can be used to establish comparable EU monitoring indicators on residential care, family-based care, 'other' and total children in alternative care. These findings can help Child Guarantee National Action Plans monitor the situation for children in alternative care. Publication of the findings are forthcoming.
- Eurochild Secretary-General, Jana Hainsworth, had the honour of summarising the main points discussed during the event and offering an analysis from perspective of civil society. She praised the abundancy of good practices and examples shared by the different speakers and underlined the necessity to use the political momentum offered by the EU to fight child poverty and social exclusion. Child poverty rates are simply unacceptable and Europe cannot afford to pay the price of inaction.
As underlined by the latest Eurostat data, child poverty is an increasing phenomenon that concerns every country within the EU, illustrating that the Child Guarantee must be a priority for all. This conference was a pivotal occasion to state that the Child Guarantee National Action Plans must be ambitious, strategic and meaningfully involve all relevant stakeholder, such as children and civil society. Moreover, the conference also offered an occasion to recognise that the Child Guarantee Recommendation is a fundamental step in the right direction, but alone it will not be enough. Children need comprehensive national policies, innovative instruments, and long-term strategies. Children need their governments to be bold; there is no time to shy away.
Children’s views count too! Hear from Eurochild Children's Council member, Ranya, from Slovenia on how European Child Guarantee can benefit children with migrant backgrounds. Thanks to the Slovenian Presidency and to our members Zveza prijateljev mladine Slovenije and PIC for empowering children to speak up!