Under the authority of the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice, the National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights and Adoption plans to organise a ‘Children’s Summit’ on 6–7 May, days prior to the Sibiu Summit on the Future of Europe. They aim to gather children and adults from across Europe to discuss and adopt a children’s declaration, and a supporting document outlining what the EU can do to deliver children’s right to participants.
At a preparatory meeting of experts on 26 February, four youth ambassadors of the EU Presidency took the floor. A 16-year-old student from Brăila asked in his intervention, ‘can we speak of a future European Union if children are not empowered and encouraged to participate in decisions that affect them?’. At the meeting, Eurochild facilitated a discussion on what mechanisms could be envisaged in different EU institutions to give life to its existing commitment to children’s rights. Participants brought proposals for new and reinforced structures to give children access to processes in the European Parliament, Commission and Council. These ideas will be taken forward, both in the upcoming European Forum on the Rights of the Child, organised by DG Justice of the European Commission on 3–4 April, and later at the Children’s Summit in May.
It is hoped that Romania’s EU Presidency will leave behind a strong legacy on child participation that will be followed by future EU Presidencies, as well as the next generation of MEPs and Commission leaders. The results of the Europe Kids Want survey will provide important input to the deliberations, as will the Children’s Board, established in Romania, to discuss and put together the Children’s Declaration under the guidance of UNICEF Romania.