CoR members adopted today the draft opinion on the "Protection of children in migration" by Yoomi Renström, Member of Ovanåker Municipal Council (PES/Sweden). The issue of protecting children in migration has become particularly relevant in the last years due to the enormous increase in the number of children, many of the unaccompanied, arriving as migrants to the EU.
The opinion underlines some deficiencies in the EU and its Member States with respect to protection of children and invites the European Commission to develop a comprehensive approach that includes both unaccompanied children and children arriving with families. The rapporteur recalls that children's rights are also protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The opinion underlines that children's best interests must be the guiding principle the EU, Member States and local and regional authorities must work together in order to honour this principle. In this respect, the CoR calls for specific guidelines from the European Commission on operational standards and material reception conditions. Moreover, the rapporteur stressed that "minors need juridical representation by independent and qualified persons to protect their interests". Furthermore, all individuals working with children must receive proper training. Thee opinion also stresses that closer cooperation between local and regional authorities and Member States is fundamental in order to improve the exchange of information and data.
In conclusion, the rapporteur stresses that children, no matter where they come from, deserve the best access to education and therefore a comprehensive approach to their integration is an investment in the future.