Study on Child Participation in EU Political and Democratic Life

Final Report

Published in: European Commission website (2021). doi: 10.2838/388737

Posted on on February 23, 2021

by Barbara Janta, Michaela Bruckmayer, Annemari de Silva, Lucy Gilder, Andreas Culora, Sam Cole, Emma Leenders, Mieke Schuurman, Alice Hagger-Vaughan

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Child participation is the notion that children have the right to express their views and have them taken into account on all matters that concern them, in accordance with their age and maturity. Child participation in EU political and democratic life refers to distinctive opportunities for children to be involved in the various stages of the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of policy and legislation. Both the promotion and protection of the rights of the child are objectives of the European Union (EU). It is within this context that the European Commission's Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (DG JUST) has contracted this analysis on the participation of children in political and democratic life across the EU. The study's results and the ideas gathered during this project are intended to contribute to future work on children's participation in society at the EU level. This study defines a 'child' as anyone under the age of 18, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This study focuses on child participation in EU political and democratic life, but it does not address children's participation in other settings that are unrelated to public life (e.g. judicial proceedings, school daily life or family-related contexts), or voting. The study covers a broad range of mechanisms—such as consultations, polls, ad hoc meetings and structural consultation bodies—that have been implemented after 2012 across 28 countries (27 EU Member States (MS) and the UK). The study covers mechanisms at the international, EU and national level, and at the local level in 10 selected MS—namely Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.

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