BRUSSELS, 20 November 2018 – Sixty-eight per cent of children and adolescents in over 20 European countries feel welcoming and curious towards people from different nationalities living intheir country, according to the findings of an online survey released today by UNICEF and Eurochild.
Tolerance and equal treatment of migrants, regardless of religion, culture or language, featureprominently in the results of the opinion poll. The survey also shows that children and young people aged 10 and above are worried about not finding a job in the future, particularly in Italy, Serbia, Spain, Ireland and Bulgaria. 74 per cent of respondents said that schools are not preparing them well enough for the next stages of their lives.
The ´Europe Kids Want´ online survey was developed by children’s rights experts and tested with children before being launched in June this year. In total, nearly 14,000 children and young people from 23 countries participated in the survey during four months, providing over 38,000 responses to topics such as school safety, climate change, family environment and online behavior. The poll remains open and is available in 29 languages.
“There are at least 100 million children and adolescents living in the European Union today whoshould have their voices heard on decisions about their futures,” said UNICEF Deputy Director Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, who is in Brussels for World Children’s Day celebrations at the European Parliament. “The European Parliament is opening its doors today for young people to get that conversation started and help shape the Europe of tomorrow, and we are excited to join this conversation.”
The event in Brussels, hosted by President Antonio Tajani at the European Parliament and coorganizedby UNICEF and Eurochild, brings 40 children and young people from around Europe, aswell as high-level influencers and decision makers, to debate the results of the Europe Kids Want survey and agree on a roadmap for future engagement.
“Children’s participation in public decision-making is not a ‘nice to have’, it is a necessary contributor to better decisions and to more participatory democracy. While annual meetings are symbolically important for dialogue between our European decision-makers and children, we also need on-going government action at local, national and EU levels to involve children. We must not think of children‘as the future’ but rather ‘as change-makers today”, added Eurochild Interim President Hanna Heinonen.
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