Eurochild facilitates child participation at the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights Symposium

#rightsreport17: Is Europe doing enough to protect fundamental rights?

Some of the young people who participated at the Symposium

Eurochild was invited by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights to involve children in the discussions on fundamental rights in Europe, with a specific focus on poverty and migration. The event took place on 28 June at the Council of the European Union in Brussels and was hosted in cooperation with the Maltese EU Presidency.

We worked with 17 children from 9 different EU countries to work together before and after the high-level symposium in Brussels. Two videos, one on Poverty and one on Migration, were co-produced by Eurochild and EU Agency as a starting point for the panel discussions.  

According to Eurostat, a third of all asylum seekers coming to the EU in 2015 and 2016 were children with their families or unaccompanied. Children are disproportionately more at risk of poverty than adults, with over one in four children are at risk in Europe. The videos featured the children and young people’s inputs, suggestions and critiques on how Europe is tackling child poverty and dealing with the protection of rights of children refugees and migrants. 

The children participating at the event addressed the panel with their solutions: ‘’An adult-child cooperation system would bring fresh new creative ideas from the children’s perspective and adults’ know-how about laws and finance. It would be a perfect balance: Each helps each other in a win-win situation’’ said Sharon, 12, from Malta and Junior, 17, from Ireland

Linda, 15, from Estonia, asked for free and compulsory education for all children in Europe and underlined that ‘’children are not only the future, we are the present’’. Adamantia, 16, from Greece asked to “create or implement in every EU Member State initiatives so that children and young people meet and help refugee children to integrate.” 

The children’s participation was very well received and left some participants “stunned at how intelligent children are”.  The EU Agency released a Report with the children’s perspective that can be downloaded here as a PDF.

We thank all the organisations and individuals that collaborated with us to make sure that what happened at the Symposium was inspiring and meaningful child participation!

- Interviews for both videos were conducted by: 

The Cyprus Children's Parliament, Matz TV Germany, President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society Malta, The Youth Netherlands, Estonian Union of Child Welfare.

- The organisations that helped bring the children’s delegations to Brussels were: 

Estonian Union of Child Welfare, President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society Malta, BFPA – Bulgaria, FSWS (Foundation for Social Welfare Services) Malta, Don Bosco Care Drumcondra, The Smile of the Child Greece, UNICEF Slovakia and Society "Our Children" Opatija, Croatia.

For further info:

Click here to watch the video on poverty and here for the one on migration.

Click here you can to see the photos from the event.

Click here for a video with a summary from the event. 

Click here you can find the live stream of the whole event.