The need to protect children is a responsibility that is keenly felt in the European Union, including with particular regard to family conflict, in which children tend to be the worst affected. However, the conference on ‘Tackling family crisis for the sake of children’, which was held at the European Parliament on 23 October 2013, highlighted the fact that there are significant differences in the ways in which divorce is managed in terms of the custody of children. It is sometimes simply a case of crossing a border for children to be unjustifiably treated in a totally different way.
The Italian paediatrician, Vittorio Vezzetti, has also shown that the loss of a parent or difficulties caused by parental separation can have both immediate and long-term effects on children’s health. The wealth of international scientific literature has provided ample evidence of changes affecting the body’s biochemical, hormonal, psychoneurological and even chromosomal balance (with stress affecting the telomeric region). It is therefore clear that this subject — far from being seen as an issue specific to family law, as in the case of maintenance and the allocation of the family home — has to be tackled using a more universal scientific language that each legal system will then be able to transpose independently in accordance with its own methods.
Since Europe can clearly not claim to be truly united and solidarity-based when it is not guaranteeing the same treatment for all of its children, and since a wealth of material is available in the scientific literature, I ask:
Can the Commission say whether, in order to ensure equal rights to health, it is intending to conduct or assess research to identify the best practices that might serve as a guide for Member States with a view to greater harmonisation of procedures?