ERGO Network response to the European Commission public consultations on the Child Guarantee and the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child 2021-2027
The European Commission will be proposing, in 2021, a Child Guarantee and a Strategy on the Rights of the Child, two instruments specifically designed to improve the lives and wellbeing of children in the European Union. ERGO Network has been engaging closely with these processes to ensure that the unique situation of Roma children is taken on board. We are also pleased to have become a member of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, which brings together over 20 European networks sharing a commitment to end child poverty and promote child wellbeing across Europe.
The Child Guarantee is meant to ensure that all children in Europe who are at risk of poverty, social exclusion, or are otherwise disadvantaged, have access to essential services of good quality. ERGO Network strongly welcomes the initiative and gave input to the European Commission consultation on the Roadmap for a Council Recommendation for a Child Guarantee (Download the full input). The Covid-19 pandemic highlights the urgent need to invest in proper care services and income support for Roma children and their families.
While the proposed Roadmap for the Child Guarantee identifies several groups of “children in need”, Roma children are not one of them. This is unacceptable, where the Fundamental Rights Agency found that every third Roma child (30%) lives in households where someone went to bed hungry at least once in the previous month, and only about half (53%) of young Roma children are enrolled in early childhood education and care programs. Unless they are explicitly mentioned as target group and specific measures put in place to deal with very specific needs, experience shows that Roma children will once again be left behind.
We equally contributed to the EU Alliance for Investing in Children’s Response to the public consultation on the Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights, which calls on EU Member States to develop actions that will protect children (including Roma children) from poverty, as well as support their access to quality early childhood education and care and to equal opportunities.
Additionally, we also prepared an input to the European Commission public consultation on the upcoming EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child (2021-2024), whose objective is to provide a framework for EU actions to better promote and protect children’s rights, with specific measures and funding.
ERGO Network will continue to work closely on the file to ensure that Roma children’s voices are heard, and that appropriate links will be made, at EU and national level, between initiatives on children’s rights and wellbeing such as those above and the objectives of the EU Strategic Framework for Roma Equality, Inclusion, and Participation.