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Parliamentary questions
3 October 2017
E-004884/2017
Answer given by Mr Hahn on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is aware that child marriage remains a concern, particularly amongst members of certain vulnerable groups. Underage marriages occur mostly in rural areas and are observed amongst Roma children, as highlighted in the 2016 Commission Report on Albania(1). The Commission is aware of concerns from civil society organisations monitoring this practice, which point out that girls as young as seven and boys as young as nine were ‘considered’ married (i.e. promised away). Some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also report that early and forced marriages occur in rural communities as part of human trafficking schemes, with parents consenting to underage daughters marrying older foreign men, who subsequently move them to other countries.

The Commission will continue to closely follow the situation in Albania and raise the issue with the authorities. Albania is party to the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention(2), which requires criminalisation of the act of forcing a child to enter into a marriage, and of luring a child to another country in order to force her or him to enter into a marriage. The Commission also maintains that Albania, as candidate country, should address all forms of exploitation, and should ensure that victims are offered protection and assistance, including gender and age-specific approaches.

It should be noted that the improvement of the socioeconomic conditions of vulnerable groups is specifically targeted through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance: EUR 6 million is allocated to improve employment for Roma and Egyptian communities, to increase their participation in local development, improve their access to equitable, inclusive and decentralised services and promote their integration in society.

(1)https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_albania.pdf
(2)http://www.coe.int/en/web/istanbul-convention/home

Last updated: 4 October 2017Legal notice