First ever #EUChildrensSummit paves way for future of Europe debate

The first ever Children’s Summit involving over 60 children from across Europe has kicked off in Bucharest under the leadership of the Romanian EU Presidency.

Eurochild recognizes this summit as a critical milestone in the history of the EU and urges future Presidencies to listen to the demands and consult children on issues that matter to them. It takes place a few days in advance of the Future of Europe Summit in Sibiu, Romania. The summit is organised by the National Authority on the Protection of Children’s Rights and Adoption in partnership with UNICEF Romania.

The Children’s Summit (officially, Children’s Participation in Decision-Making and Policy-Making at EU level) is the first gathering of children, under an EU Presidency, to urge EU leaders to make children’s right to be heard a reality.

According to the Europe Kids Want survey, launched by the European Parliament and supported by Eurochild and UNICEF, only 8% of children respondents feel that adults listen to their opinions when making decisions in their community.  “Children are agents of change, in their own lives, the lives of our communities, our countries and our world. The right of children to participate is key to achieving access to all of their rights: such as protection from violence; from poverty and discrimination; and, tackling today’s environmental challenges, among others. Therefore, it is essential that the European Union listens to children, and ensures that children can influence decisions that directly affect them, and all of us,” said H.E Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, president of Eurochild.

Eurochild, a children’s rights advocacy network with 176 members in 34 countries, has been actively engaged in gathering views of children and experts on children’s participation in public decision-making. The Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration and Experts’ Supporting Document was adopted on 7 May at the Children’s Summit to guide European leaders.

Eurochild will engage with decision-makers to ensure structured mechanisms are put in place to allow children to engage with decision-making at local, national and European levels.  “Child participation is a two-way street which benefits not only children but also society at large. I am so pleased that the Romanian Presidency is setting a precedent, which I hope future EU Presidencies will build upon,” concluded Preca.

Eurochild is an advocacy network of organizations working with and for children throughout Europe, striving for a society that respects the rights of children. Bringing expertise from its membership, the network of 176 organisations and individuals across 34 countries influences policies, builds internal capacities, facilitates mutual learning and exchanges practice and research to support the children’s rights sector. Eurochild hosted its bi-annual conference in Opatija, Croatia in October 2018 on the topic of children’s participation in public decision-making.

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