Children and Youth
Children’s rights in the digital spaceSince the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, society has changed in many ways. Digitalisation creates the need to extend the protection of children and their rights to the digital space. This goal has been increasingly pursued in recent years at the international, European and national level. In March 2021 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published a general comment on children’s rights in the digital environment. The comment is intended to demonstrate the relevance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the digital space as well as to support states in protecting and fulfilling children’s rights in the digital environment. The comment was preceded by a two-year consultation in which more than 700 children participated.
Europe-wide Child Guarantee to Combat Child PovertyChild poverty is widespread in Europe, even in economically strong countries. Almost 22.5 percent of children in the European Union are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic child poverty in Europe can be expected to increase.
The child guarantee was requested by the European Parliament in 2015. It aims to combat child poverty and social exclusion in Europe by ensuring access to affordable, inclusive, and high-quality services, especially for children who are affected by poverty and socially disadvantaged. Since 2018, within the framework of a broad preparatory action at the EU level, possibilities for design and implementation have been discussed. In June 2021, the EU member states adopted a Council recommendation establishing a European Child Guarantee.
Families in Europe during and after the COVID-19 pandemic: International conference on 24 November 2020Within the framework of the German Presidencies of the Council of the European Union and the Council of Europe in 2020, the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth together with the Observatory was organising an international conference on the subject of "Overcoming COVID-19 — jointly developing prospects for strong families" on November 24, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown from the very beginning that families are the central pillar of our society. For a large number of families, however, this time had and still has a strong economic and psychological impact. The different political measures to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families with children in Europe show that EU member states are responding with different approaches to the same challenges.
The focus of the conference was the question of how families can be empowered during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. Together with representatives of the European Commission and the EU Member States as well as with experts from politics, science and civil society, society, measures of the European member states to strengthen families were discussed in various panels. The focus was on the financial stability of families, equal educational opportunities for all children, better work-life balance and the fight against domestic violence - during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Child Poverty and Social ExclusionThe topic of child poverty ranges high on the political agenda of many European states. However, despite sometimes far-reaching efforts on part of the state, children are affected by poverty more often than the general population. The financial support for children and families varies between European states regarding the amount of the benefit. Often universal benefits stand next to targeted benefits. Besides the question what children and their families need in addition to financial benefits, another important question is how to generate an easy access to any form of benefits for children and their families. Against the background of the processes initiated at EU-level and national level, the Observatory aims at promoting the Europe-wide exchange on measures and experiences in tackling child poverty and social exklusion.
Why do young people radicalize themselves and how can we prevent them from doing so? As Islamist extremism has raised sharply, both – politics and social sciences – pay more and more attention to these questions. A European Expert Meeting addressed this topic. The event focused on different European perspectives on what role discrimination can play during the radicalisation process and how a successful anti-discrimination policy can contribute to preventing radicalisation.