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Cities have ‘crucial role’ in formation of EU Children’s Capital

Alexis HAULOT Copyright: © European Union 2024 - Source : EP

The European Parliament has opened an important new debate on the ‘EU Children’s Capital’ initiative, which aims to cement children’s rights as a priority policy area.

Addressing the urgent issue of child poverty was highlighted by Dubravka Šuica, EU Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, as she made the opening statement of a European Parliament Plenary session.

The session, Creation of a European initiative for an annual designation of European capitals for children, drove home the message not only of how child poverty in the European Union must be eradicated ‘once and for all’, but how cities, as ‘key actors’, perform a critical function in the process.

Cities are ‘key actors’

They play a crucial role in the delivery of services like early childhood education and care; education, including school-based activities and healthy lunches; and housing, which, added Ms Šuica, was a ‘key problem’ in modern-day Europe.

“It is also a necessity to make our democracies more resilient from within. It is not only from the outside,” she added. “Children want – and have the rights – to be included in developing solutions to their problems.”

Copyright: © European Union 2024 – Source : EP

Delegates then heard that now, on the back of the EU Children’s Participation Platform, the establishment of a European Capital for Children was taking shape.

Describing children as ‘the agents of change’, Ms Šuica highlighted the eagerness voiced to her by young people to participate in the democractic processes affecting their lives. “It is essential to keep investing in children,” she said.

They want to be involved in decisions at home, at school, in their cities, regions, countries, but also at the EU level

“That is why we have launched the EU Children’s Participation Platform, together with children, civil society organisations, and the European Parliament. I would also like to thank the Intergroup for children because we cooperated very well and had a good collaboration.

“We therefore learned about your initiative to establish a European Capital for Children with interest. In this vein, we also need to recall that any initiative involving children needs to be comprehensive.”

A debate then followed, with input from members across the European Parliament – click here to watch the Plenary session back.

Posting later on X, Ms Šuica added: “It’s at an early stage, but we welcome the importance of embedding #childrensrights in local reality & support the need of joint efforts to ensure their rights at all levels of governance, from EU & national, to regions & cities.”

Author: Simon Weedy

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