More than 60 children from the EU, tens of experts in human rights, high European officials and representatives of the civil society are attending in Bucharest the international conference “Children’s Participation in Decision-Making and Policy-Making at National and EU Levels” on May 6-7, informs the Labour Ministry in a press release.
The event sets the ground for the mechanism of consultation of children in the EU decisions concerning them through the adoption of the “Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration on Child Participation in Decision-Making at National and EU levels.” The conference is organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice, through the National Authority for the Protection of Child Rights and Adoption, with the support of UNICEF Romania and is part of the official agenda of Romania at the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
“When we speak about the future of Europe, children’s right to participate must become a priority and a reality. Their participation will shape the future of the European Union in a sustainable way. I am proud that Romania put the participation of children on the European agenda and I count on the support of the future presidencies, too, to take action in this respect,” Deputy PM for the implementation of Romania’s strategic partnerships Ana Birchall said, according to Agerpres.
According to statistics, one of five European citizens is a child or very young person.
In this context, the Labour Minister, Marius Budai, specified that the right to participate is one of the fundamental rights of children and it’s adults’ duty to observe this right.
“Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration on Child Participation in Decision-Making at National and EU levels” was drafted by a Board of Romanian children especially created for this, and disseminated in Europe through the networks of UNICEF, Eurochild, Save the Children, the Federation of NGOs Active in Child Protection, European associations of high schoolers, in order to get feedback from the numerous and diverse categories of children.
The document was the result of an ample consultation process that involved both international experts and representatives of the European institutions active in the child rights field.
It represents an instrument that can mobilize the European institutions and member states to establish some official structures and mechanisms meant to promote children’s right to participate, according to the provisions of the EU Recommendation “Invest in Children,” the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“Children and adolescents are a key resource for the future of the European Union. By increasing their level of familiarization with the EU issues, their active involvement in the European actions and by stimulating their creativity and accountability within the decision-making and policy-making processes at EU level we are setting the ground for a stronger Europe,” stated Pieter Bult, the UNICEF representative in Romania.
The “Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration on Child Participation in Decision-Making at National and EU levels” will be presented by the representatives of the ministries and central authorities in charge with children rights in the 28 member states, experts in children’s rights and also specialists from the European institutions and the European Parliament.
PM Dancila welcomes Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration, tells children they are Europe’s future
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila welcomed at the Government House on Monday the “Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration on Child Participation in Decision-Making,” underlining that the responsibility of current European politicians is to bequest to the future generations a European Union that is “stable and strong.”
“I am pleased to see the interest of children and adolescents in the future of the European Union. (…) Romania’s presidency of the Council of the EU has been built around unity, cohesion, as reflected in our motto: ?Cohesion, a common European value.’ What does cohesion mean? Cohesion means freedom; you cannot be free, if others are not. Cohesion means solidarity and reciprocity – you do not feel good if the person next to you feels bad. It also means equality of treatment, non-discriminatory access to material, social and cultural goods. These are fundamental values that we all have to resonate with. Children are the future of a nation and one in five European citizens is a child or a young person. Therefore, you, the children, represent the future of the EU; it is on your shoulders that the European project, its consolidation and its adaptation to your requirements and new living conditions continue. We are still responsible for letting future generations have a stable and strong European Union, and the first step we need to do in that direction is to strengthen the European project and to regain the trust of citizens in its institutions,” said Dancila at a meeting with children and adolescents who were involved in drafting the “Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration on Child Participation in Decision-Making.”
The prime minister added that in order to achieve these goals, bringing the citizens closer to the European institutions and their involvement in decision-making plays a key role.
She pointed out that in the case of the rotating presidency, co-operation between the Romanian government and the important institutions that promote the rights of the children placed special emphasis on the right to participate in decision-making processes.