Children ‘largely ignored’ in EU countries’ post-COVID recovery plans, says Eurochild

Children are ‘invisible’ in many European countries’ National Recovery and Resilience Plans that will frame how special post-COVID EU Recovery Funds are spent.

That’s the conclusion of children’s rights champion Eurochild, which has examined the plans of 16 countries, and found that, in its view, children have largely been ‘ignored’.

The Recovery and Resilience Facility is committed to providing €672.5 billion in loans and grants to support reforms and investments undertaken by EU countries. The aim is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.

But, after looking at the plans, it said the ‘detrimental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social fabric and children’s well being is not taken into consideration’ and that social investments are not sufficiently included.

‘Children’s organisations working on the ground must be consulted’

Eurochild looked at the plans of Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. It says that where children are included, targets and measures based on their interests are ‘often too generic and insufficient. Additionally, many plans do not propose new elements to tackle this crisis but merely mention pre-existing instruments’.

“Eurochild also regrets that civil society organisations have been predominantly left out of the process of developing the NRRPs, despite the fact that they provide useful expertise and insight into the impact of the pandemic on different groups of citizens,” it adds.

In addition, only four of the 22 organisations and individuals who carried out the analysis were consulted by their governments during the development of the plans.

‘Children have largely been ignored’

Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, said: “A recovery plan for the next generation must address the current challenges faced by children, especially those in vulnerable situations. Children’s organisations working on the ground must be consulted at this critical design phase of recovery plans.”

It has shared its analysis with the European Commission Recovery and Resilience Task Force and the European Parliament working group on scrutiny of the NRRPs. Eurochild is now calling on EU officials to assess these crucial plans within a specific child rights context.

“As these plans are adopted in the coming months, and implemented in the coming years, Eurochild will continue working together with our members towards the much needed investment in children through the recovery funds,” it adds.

Author: Simon Weedy

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