Parliamentary questions
7 June 2017
O-000050/2017
Question for oral answer
to the Commission (Vice-President / High Representative)
Rule 128
Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, on behalf of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality

 Subject: VP/HR - Ending child marriage

One in every three girls in developing countries is married before turning 18, and one in nine before 15. Child marriage affects both girls and boys, but girls – who account for 82 % of married children – are most at risk. The problem not only affects third countries, but also Europe.

According to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the EU shall promote the rights of the child, but child, early, and forced marriage is a violation of these rights. One of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to eliminate all harmful practices, including child, early and forced marriage. At the same time, ending child, early and forced marriage is listed as one of the priorities for the work of the EU in the Joint Staff Working Document entitled ‘on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations 2016-2020’, in the EU Action Plan on Human Rights 2015-2019 and in the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020, which stresses the need for women and girls to be able to fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The EU recently decided to sign the Istanbul Convention, which recognises forced marriage as a type of violence against women and encourages that its measures be extended to boys and men, as they can also fall victim to forced marriage. The Convention demands criminalisation of the act of forcing a child to enter into a marriage and of that of luring a child to another country in order to force her or him to enter into a marriage.

In addition, child brides are often subjected to early and frequent pregnancies, the complications of which often lead to death.

1. How does the Commission assess the impact of projects or campaigns designed to combat child marriage and the level of funding for this objective in all EU external action? Does the Commission take into account indicators on child marriage in its cooperation agreements and provide specific benchmarks for eradicating this phenomenon?

2. What steps are being taken to ensure the protection of the rights and health (including sexual and reproductive health and rights) of all children in EU Member States with regard to child marriage and the application of unified legal standards, including with a view to EU ratification of the Istanbul Convention?

3. How are the Commission and the Member States addressing the issue of child marriage, particularly in relation to child refugees and asylum seekers?

Last updated: 14 June 2017Legal notice