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Children's rights in the EU are best promoted at local level  

​​Jari Andersson, member of Sastamala City Council (FI/EPP) has drafted an opinion for the European Committee of the Regions on the EU strategy on the rights of the child and the European Child Guarantee. Mr Andersson's opinion was adopted on Wednesday at the meeting of the Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) of the CoR.

Last week, the Council of the EU adopted a recommendation on a European Child Guarantee to safeguard the right of all people under the age of 18 to early childhood education, education, healthcare, adequate nutrition and decent housing. The European Committee of the Regions, representing cities and regions in EU decision-making, stresses that local and regional authorities play an important role in providing basic services and combatting poverty and therefore the Commission and the Member States must ensure that all levels of government are involved in implementing the Child Guarantee.

"Every child must have the right to an adequate standard of living and equal opportunities from an early age. Strengthening the socio-economic inclusion of children is essential to reduce poverty and disadvantage between generations. Regions, cities and municipalities have an important part to play in tackling child poverty and abuse and a crucial role in preventing exclusion," rapporteur Jari Andersson said.

The opinion calls for specific measures to ensure access to quality education, including for children from more disadvantaged families. The European Commission and the Member States are urged to step up cooperation with local and regional authorities and to ensure that initiatives supporting the objectives of the EU strategy on the rights of the child and the European Child Guarantee are properly funded, particularly through the European Social Fund.

In his opinion, the rapporteur Mr Andersson also stresses the need to ensure that children are able to participate in decisions affecting their lives and to be heard in a way that is appropriate to their age and maturity. The specific rights of children should also be safeguarded in the legal system and detention during migration procedures should only be used as a last resort in exceptional cases. The opinion is to be submitted for adoption at the CoR plenary session in October 2021.

The SEDEC commission meeting also discussed the European Youth Capital initiative, the role of education and culture in strengthening European values and citizenship, and the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness launched by the European Commission in Lisbon on Monday 21 June. SEDEC Commission chair and member of Kerava City Council Anne Karjalainen (FI/PES) attended the launch event and signed the Declaration on Combatting Homelessness on behalf of the CoR. Mikko Aaltonen (FI/PES), Member of Tampere City Council, was appointed rapporteur for an upcoming CoR opinion on this topic.

Lauri Ouvinen

Tel. +32 473536887

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