The European Parliament creates new Intergroup on children's rights
In a major step to mainstream children's rights more effectively across European Union's policies and legislation, the setting up of an Intergroup on children's rights was approved for the current parliamentary term (2014-2019) on the 11th of December, 2014. As a cross-party mechanism, the Intergroup will have 'focal points’ across all parliamentary committees.
Intergroups are informal structures within the European Parliament that foster exchanges between MEPs and civil society on particular subjects of interest. This new intergroup aims to promote children’s rights and ensure that the best interest of the child is taken into account in all EU internal and external action. It will bring more visibility to children’s rights and wil hopefully play a key role in mainstreaming the rights of the child across the work of the Parliament.
"The European Parliament needs a formal body with explicit responsibility for children, as no parliamentary committee has such responsibility" said Caterina Chinnici, speaking as S&D's co-chair of the Intergroup on children's rights. "We are establishing a real cross party, cross national group of committed MEPs, who will work together with civil society, to keep children's rights on top of our priorities and ensure that children rights are mainstreamed in every policy we adopt."
"We will have a focal point on children's rights and well-being in each parliamentary committee who will be a member of the Intergroup and will alert the Intergroup on the files that would have an impact on children in the respective committees" explained EPP's co-chair Annamaria Corazza-Bildt. "This will be important to raise awareness and build horizontal support. We, parliamentarians have the responsibility to ensure that children are heard and that their best interests are taken into account in all EU policies and legislation and we hope that with this Intergroup we will be able to do this more effectively."
The creation of this intergroup was the result of the advocacy efforts of Missing Children Europe and 14 other child rights networks that contributed to the Child Rights Manifesto for the establishment of a permanent mechanism with explicit responsibility for protecting and promoting children’s rights across all policy sectors in internal and external affairs.
In September this year, four political groups agreed at the European Parliament event on Championing Children’s Rights to propose an Intergroup on children’s rights and well-being. The event gathered support from EPP, S&D, GUE/NGL and Greens, represented respectively by MEP Antonio López-Istúriz, MEP Anna Maria Corazza-Bildt, MEP Julie Ward, MEP Gabriele Zimmer and MEP Jean Lambert.
During the roundtable discussion, organised by the Child Rights Action Group (CRAG), MEPs and child rights organisations debated the way forward for mainstreaming children’s rights in the European Parliament, where there is no mechanism or body directly responsible for children’s rights
“We, parliamentarians have the responsibility to ensure that children are heard and that their best interests are taken into account in all EU policies and legislation. That is why we are creating an Intergroup on Children’s rights and well-being, a real cross party and cross national group of "Child Rights Champions" who will work together with civil society to keep children's rights on top of our priorities”, said MEP Anna Maria Corazza-Bildt.