Children’s Commissioner ‘an EU job worth fighting for’ – Eurochild

Did you know there is a European Commissioner for fish but not for children?

That’s the bizarre reality laid bare by child rights body Eurochild as it calls for a dedicated EU Children’s Commissoner to ‘prioritise their rights’ at the highest level.

Eurochild has launched a petition targeting EU leaders at the same time as the latest round of elections for top jobs in the European Commission, the union’s executive arm.

‘Prioritise child rights’

The petition aims to get at least 5,000 signatures and raise visibility of the need to prioritise child rights within the EU’s political agenda. Such a role is in the next mandate of the European Commission for 2019-204, and Eurochild says says that while children’s rights are guaranteed by law, a lot still remains to be done.

Eurochild is a network of more than 170 organisations and individuals working in and across Europe to promote the rights and well-being of children and young people. It is co-funded by the EU’s Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme.

The petition says: “Even though there are 100 million children in the European Union, there is no Commissioner for Children – nobody fighting to protect children and promote their rights at the highest level of European government. There is, however, a Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

‘Nobody fighting to protect children’

“We’re not saying fish aren’t important. We just think our children are at least as important as fish – don’t you agree?”

And in a letter to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, it says that the role of a ‘European Commissioner for Children would be to champion the rights of children within the EU, accession countries and in its external actions. The Commissioner would ensure all all policies and EU funds have a positive impact on children’s lives’.

It says that one in four children are at risk of poverty in the EU, social protection systems are often too weak to support families and children in need, and that many children are left behind due to discrimination and social exclusion.

‘Supportive, enabling environment’

“Structural inequalities have locked children and families into a cycle of disadvantage – that’s where governments, through public policy, can create a supportive, enabling environment where all children and families who are struggling get support,” says Eurochild.

The petition also includes a job description of what the potential position of a Commissioner for Children would require. Over the next five years, European Commissioners will be responsible for proposing legislation and setting EU political and spending priorities. The current Commission’s term ends at the end of October 2019.

Sign the petition here.

Author: Simon Weedy

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