The shocking results of the UK referendum on the EU are out. UK is getting ready to leave the EU. It is saddening to know that the will of the young people would have been to remain and yet, they will bear the ultimate consequences of a decision that went against their vote.
The results show that an overwhelming majority of young people aged 18-25 voted in favour of remaining in the EU. One cannot help but wonder how different the outcome of the referendum would have been had the vote been extended to 16 and 17 year olds. It is our children that will bear the full brunt of this devastating decision.
What does this mean for the children in Europe?
While currently there are more questions than answers, there is enough analysis to know that it will change the lives of children and young people, not only those living in the UK.
Helen Stalford of European Children’s Rights Unit, our member in University of Liverpool has been assessing the potential impact and offers a critique and briefing on its impact on different groups of children. Read it here.
The UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU will have significant and potentially highly damaging implications for our children and young people. EU laws, policies and financial support to protect children’s rights in a range of contexts, including health and safety at work, protection against sexual exploitation, cross-border family disputes over contact and residence, exploitative advertising and unaccompanied children are now in jeopardy.
As governments begin to reflect on the outcome, we are calling on them to put children at the heart of their decisions. Read the open letter sent to President of the European Council this week.
This historic development of the first ever exit from the EU ought to be a wake up call for Europe. The democratic deficit, the misinformation and the feeling amongst people that Europe isn’t working for society must be confronted and addressed if European governments wish to keep the peace project alive.
Eurochild, as a strong civil society actor, will continue to demand a stronger and social Europe for the protection and promotion of the rights of all children, within the EU and beyond.
In 10 days, the Eurochild conference will bring together the children’s rights community across Europe with policy makers, children and politicians. We hope this gathering will help develop and gather ideas and create space for optimism and solutions.