Eurochild’s National Partner Networks (NPN) Group, which gathers 21 child rights networks from Europe, met in Brussels from 19 till 20 March 2018. The Network of Organisations for Children of Serbia (MODS) was represented by Jasmina Miković from Praxis, who is the president of Steering Committee of MODS and who chaired the first day of NPN meeting.
The agenda for the first day of the meeting included the Carousel Discussion on different child participation themes, an information session on the EEA grants, updates and consultations on the EU’s work in relation to social issues and Investing in Children (European Semester, European Pillar on Social Rights, Work-Life Balance Package and Childonomics) and an open space to share NPN member’s work, experiences and activities.
On the second day of the gathering on 20 March, Eurochild’s NPN Group and the national coordinators of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children met in order to attend a workshop on the EU Budget, followed by the event “Maintain, Strengthen, Expand – How the EU can support the transition from institutional to family – and community-based care” held at the European Commission. MODS is national coordinator of Serbia, so Maja Popovic from MDRI-S was presented MODS on event in European Commission.
On that occasion, civil society organizations from 25 European countries that work with and for children met key EU level stakeholders in Brussels to discuss how the EU can ensure better outcomes for children and their families through the post-2020 EU budget. Under the platform of the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign, they brought evidence from the ground on how EU funds have been used in the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The publication urges the EU to maintain, strengthen and expand its pivotal role towards children’s deinstitutionalisation and the transformation of child protection systems in Europe.
The EU is at a critical juncture, as it prepares to decide on its priorities for investment post-2020. Despite its efforts in funding reforms in child protection in its current Multi-annual financial framework, we are far from providing children the best care solutions. The negotiations on EU budget and funding programmes beyond 2020 is a unique chance for the EU to end the era of institutional care – unnecessary, outdated and harmful type of care that segregates children from society. The next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) offers a real opportunity to build on lessons learnt and deliver on existing EU promises.
The undoubted EU added value of investing in the social inclusion of the most vulnerable people, catalysing child welfare and child protection reforms and triggering the transition from institutional towards more individualised community-based care (also known as deinstitutionalisation) has been widely acknowledged by Europe’s civil society (see the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children recent recommendations to the EU, Eurochild’s recommendations on investing in children through the post-2020 MFF and the European Expert Group’s position paper on the funding of the European Union post-2020).
To continue this progress, coherent with the EU’s human rights obligations, more has to be done. The EU must reinforce its support towards realisation of common values and objectives, such as respect for human rights, poverty reduction or social inclusion, when negotiating the post-2020 budget and funding programmes over the next 18 months.
To enhance a pan-European debate on the EU budget post-2020, the Opening Doors for Europe’s Children campaign has released a publication which brings evidence from the ground on how EU funds have been used in the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). It provides ample examples of why positive elements such as the ex-ante conditionality and the European Code of Conduct on Partnership (ECCP) should be maintained in the future EU budget and expanded to other funding programmes. The report also raises some valid concerns about how regulations have been implemented in practice, making the case for strengthening existing regulations and providing recommendations for the next funding programmes beyond 2020.