On Universal Children’s Day on 20 November, young people gathered in the European Parliament to discuss the EU's future with the experts on children’s rights.
Parliament's Intergroup on Children's Rights organised an event titled "The Europe we want" together with Unicef and Eurochild to mark Universal Children's Day on 20 November.
The event aimed to promote young people's participation and ensure that current and future MEPs are committed to realising children’s rights. During the panel, young participants from 15 different EU countries asked questions about topics such as solidarity, inclusion and non-discrimination.
In his video address to the conference, Parliament President Antonio Tajani said: “The Parliament is firmly committed to the promotion of children rights. With our legislative work, we defend young people with disabilities and prevent violence against them. We also take protection of children against cybercrimes very seriously.”
The event was chaired by Swedish EPP member Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, co-chair of the intergroup. During the panel discussion she said: “This is the beginning of a process: promote debate, promote knowledge, promote learning, promote the possibility to empower you to have a voice, to influence the decision-making process in Europe.”
Sandie Blanchet, a director at Unicef, said: "Dialogue between young citizens and parliamentarians is absolutely key. Twenty percent of EU citizens are children: that is 100 million children in Europe and they are all extremely important. They do not vote yet, but one day they will."
Jana Hainsworth, the secretary general of Eurochild, said: "We hope this will be a start of the engagement from the European Parliament, from all decision makers to reach out to children, to listen to their views, to find out how we can support them in fulfilling their potential. This is also how children experience their childhood, will determinate our future.
The Intergroup on Children’s Rights
The Intergroup on Children’s Rights is a Parliament body that looks at children's rights and assesses the impact of legislative and non-legislative work on children. It aims to promote children’s rights and ensure that the best interest of the child is taken into account in EU initiatives.