Examining child participation in EU political and democratic life
What is the issue?
Allowing children the right to express their views on the matters that affect them is a key objective of the European Union. Child participation not only helps to raise awareness of policy issues and drive political change, it can also improve children’s confidence and increase their civic and social awareness.
Despite its benefits there are however challenges to child participation within the EU, meaning that children’s views are either not heard, or they are prevented from participating at all. This in turn can lead to children feeling disillusioned and out of touch with the politics affecting their lives.
How are we helping?
RAND Europe, in collaboration with Eurochild, are examining how children aged 0-18 participate in decision-making processes across the EU, highlighting both the challenges and opportunities for improvement in this area at an EU, Member State and local level.
The study, commissioned by the European Commission, will involve a mixed methods approach including interviews with children across the EU to ensure the research reflects their views and needs. The final report will help to inform future strategies and possible actions for the EU in this area.
Related research & commentary
Children have a right to participate in decisionmaking that affects them. It will be important to ensure that there are mechanisms in place to support that process, and that they are resilient, even in times of crisis.
This policy memo provides an overview of the extent to which children’s rights are promoted and taken into account in national and EU policies and practice. The memo also discusses ways in which policies and wider initiatives facilitate children’s participation in decisions about their future.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which set a legal framework and put children's rights firmly on the international policy agenda, was adopted 30 years ago. While there are a number of initiatives in place, more work could be done to maximize children's involvement in policy and decisionmaking on issues that affect their lives.
Reflecting the European Commission’s policy focus on children at risk, EPIC collects, evaluates, and disseminates practices that improve outcomes for children. RAND Europe created and maintains the website, applying a rigorous evaluation framework to identify effective, lasting, and transferable child policy practices.