European Elections 2024 brings opportunity for future MEPs to champion child rights

European Elections 2024: Future MEPs to Champion Child Rights with CRAG's 'Vote for Children' Campaign

From 6 to 9 June, EU citizens voted to elect 720 members of the European Parliament, a crucial occasion that will have a long-lasting impact on EU priorities and policies. The Children’s Rights Action Group (CRAG), including Hope and Homes for Children and  22 other members, address our recommendations to the newly elected Parliament  Members, in the framework of the ‘Vote for Children’ campaign, and urge them to sign our Manifesto. 

The European Union is a key global champion of children’s rights, including the rights of children deprived of family care, and EU advocacy is a central part of Hope and Homes for Children’s strategic objectives.

The EU has incrementally committed to the transition from institutional to community and family-based care, in its internal and external policies and legislative, including funding, instruments. Yet, much remains to be done to reform and strengthen child protection systems, support families and communities, and prevent family separation and child institutionalisation, in the European Union and globally. At a time when 1 in 4 children in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and an estimated 5.4 million children in the world grow up in institutions, resolute EU action is more needed than ever to turn the tide on child institutionalisation. 

In the lead up to the European elections, The Children’s Rights Action Group (CRAG), including Hope and Homes for Children and 22 other members, in the framework of the ‘Vote for Children’ campaign launched on 21 March, asked candidates to secure and advance children’s rights by:

  • Mainstreaming and protecting children’s rights
  • Breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality by investing in children
  • Engaging with children.

As part of the campaign, the coalition produced a Manifesto outlining concrete measures to address the challenges faced by children. From education to mental health, from bullying to violence prevention, the manifesto advocates for policies that prioritise children’s well-being. It’s a call to action—a commitment to ensuring that every child’s voice is heard, and their rights protected at all levels of decision-making. To date, over 200 candidates to the European elections have signed the manifesto.

One of the main objectives of the campaign is the formation of and future collaboration with a new Intergroup on Children’s Rights after the elections. The Intergroup is a formal body in the European Parliament that mainstreams children’s rights and assesses the impact of legislative and non-legislative work on children. It is a cross-party group of committed members of the EU Parliament who work with child-focused organisations to keep children’s rights on top of the EU agenda.

Another campaign activity has been the dissemination of the ‘Europe Kids Want’ survey results, conducted earlier this year. Over 9,200 children from diverse backgrounds and across Europe were consulted and shared their concerns and aspirations. 80% of children worry about global conflicts, half of them feel unsafe online, while 36% of LGBTQI+ children reported insecurity within their own homes. Under each survey topic, there are some key recommendations for EU policymakers. Read the full report to know more about what children want and what we recommend to the new Members of the European Parliament and European Commission leadership.

In addition to the campaign, different CRAG members, including Hope and Homes for Children, led on drafting letters to the relevant Directorates General in the Commission with our recommendations for the next term. 

We look forward to connecting with the new Parliament in autumn and to supporting and witnessing more children and young people being able to share their views and be heard. In the end, this is the core and the true meaning of the work we all do, as children’s rights organisations.