Vice-President Suica participates in the European Parliament joint Plenary debate on "International Day on the Rights of the Child"

VP Suica participates in the European Parliament joint Plena

Honourable Members,

Exactly 34 years ago, on 20 November 1989, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It is in commemoration of that milestone event that we celebrate World's Children Day today.

It is a reminder that children's rights are human rights, under any circumstances, and everywhere.

The four guiding principles of the UN Convention in the Right of the Child are:


The best interests of the child.

The right to survival and development and

The right to be heard.

They are also reflected in the European Union Charter of fundamental rights.

It is important to recall them on a day like today.

The theme for World Children's Day 2023 is: For every child, every right.

For every child, peace.

For every child, a liveable planet.

For every child, a voice.

Yet, on this World Children's Day, the EU is particularly concerned for the well-being of children living in situations of armed conflict, forced displacement and protracted humanitarian crises.

Unfortunately, our television screens and social media feeds are full of the daily horrors inflicted upon children around the world – be it from Gaza to illegal child deportations from Ukraine, terrorist attacks in Israel, and armed conflicts from the Sahel region to Yemen and Myanmar.

Children do not start conflicts; they deserve and need peace.

We as adults, as caretakers, as policy makers, we have an obligation to protect and promote all rights of all children, and to ensure that they can live in dignity.

This is also the Commission's understanding and our approach to the rights of the child as we laid it down in the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, and the European Child Guarantee.

While the European Union is one of the most equal and prosperous regions in the world - we have not yet fully eradicated poverty.

Child poverty in Europe is not acceptable.

Currently, every fourth child lives at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

This requires decisive actions at all levels.

This is what the Report on reducing inequalities and promoting social inclusion in times of crisis for children and their families calls for.

And we can only agree.

Children growing up in poverty are less likely to do well in school.

Are less likely to enjoy good health!

Are less likely to realise their full potential later in life!

This Parliament has been at the forefront of EU policy actions to support the most vulnerable children.

My colleague Commissioner Nicolas Schmit and I thank you for this.

We highly appreciate that the proposed Children First resolution pays attention to the quality of the national action plans, adequate financing, stakeholders' involvement, and proper governance and monitoring.

All these aspects are key also from our point of view.

Eight years ago the European Parliament adopted a resolution on reducing inequalities with a special focus on child poverty, calling for a child guarantee.

Today, the Child Guarantee is a reality.

We welcome the fact that 20 European Union Member States have set national targets on child poverty reduction.

We see that in 2022, the number of children at risk of poverty or social exclusion decreased in 19 Member States.

We see 191,000 fewer children affected by poverty in Italy.

86,000 fewer children affected by poverty in Greece.

While we welcome these figures, we remain concerned that this significant progress is offset by increases in eight other Member States.

We must not be complacent!

The Commission is tirelessly working with Member States to ensure that progress is being made.

And we are happy with the constructive approach by the national coordinators.

A number of concrete actions have been taken, for example:

  • School meals have been introduced in Croatia and Luxembourg.
  • In Bulgaria, “Future for Children” health prevention programme will support approximately 40 thousand families.

Honourable Members,

You have called for better monitoring: we are now working jointly with the Social Protection Committee to establish a common monitoring framework.

The results should be available in a matter of few weeks.

Results from their programming show that combating child poverty has been defined as a specific objective in programmes of 23 Member States, totalling EUR 6.1 billion of EU financing, or EUR 8.9 billion if national contributions are added.

Next March will be another opportunity to take stock.

EU Member States should report on their progress in implementing child guarantee.

Here, we must draw attention to the fact that primary responsibility for implementation of the Child Guarantee lies with Member States!

We recall that an investment in children is a tangible investment in their societies and their economies.

We must preserve this stability, as we all know how fragile it is.

Sustainable investment in children will be key.

I thank you and I look forward to this debate.

Zařazenopo 20.11.2023 18:11:00
ZdrojEvropská komise en
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