The Council of the European Union has unanimously approved the recommendation establishing the European Child Guarantee, which the Portuguese Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security considers to be “a victory” for millions of children.
Ana Mendes Godinho recalled the “ambitious goal” defined in the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, to reduce the number of children at risk of poverty or social exclusion by five million by 2030. “The approval of the European Child Guarantee is not only a victory for the Portuguese Presidency but also a victory for 18 million children in Europe,” Ana Mendes Godinho declared after the meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), which was held in Luxembourg.
Among the measures proposed for the 27 Member States is the creation of a policy framework to combat the social exclusion of children, provide at least one healthy meal each school day, guarantee access to learning material, supply transport to educational establishments and ensure access to decent housing.
The European Child Guarantee
This is the first European Union instrument devoted to combating social exclusion in childhood. One of the objectives of the European Child Guarantee is to comply with principle 11 of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which relates to support for and the care of children. This principle sets out a child’s right to care and education in early childhood and to protection against poverty, in an endeavour to break the cycle of social exclusion.
The 27 Member States should now nominate a national Child Guarantee Coordinator and, within nine months, supply the Commission with an action plan for their implementation of the recommendation by 2030.
The plan should include the categories of children who will benefit from the measures, the quantitative and qualitative goals, and the national data-collection, monitoring and assessment panels, in addition to the measures set out for the implementation of the recommendation and others measures laid down to combat social exclusion among children and break the intergenerational cycles of inequality.