Eurochild’s blog entry by George Bogdanov, Executive Director of National Network for Children
One of the first decisions of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers at the beginning of the EU Presidency was the adoption of a draft proposal to the National Assembly for ratification of Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).
This decision was difficult because there is no public consensus about the purposes and positive effects of the Convention. But the ratification of the document is a significant step in the fight against gender based violence at European level. While heading the Council of the EU, Bulgaria has a chance to undertake an indicative act demonstrating the EU determination to stand up for its civilizational choice and values.
We expect the trio – Bulgaria-Austria-Romania to provide consistent children related policies and monitoring on their progress. Not only in the meaning of deinstitutionaliation of child care and new social services development within the communities. European institutions should focus on the children’s rights, their unification and adequacy. Bulgaria is in a position to undertake the initiative for establishing an Agency for children under the supervision of the European Commission dedicated to put the children’s line into the focus of the Commission.
Similar state units work in all EU countries and there is a need their policies to be coordinated and synchronized at European level. This new structure should be able to benchmark the data from all EU member countries and direct the efforts in specific policies and specific countries.
The Future of Europe and young people is one of the main topics of the Bulgarian EU Presidency. Bulgaria declared to put the investment in early childhood development at the scope of the member countries as an important factor for building children social and life competences, their later professional development and contribution to the local economics. Various related initiatives with the participation of the World Bank, UNICEF, Eurochild will take place in the next several months.
The problem with the young people that are not in education, employment or training (NEETs) requires special attention as their number grows in the EU countries. It takes alarming rates, especially in Bulgaria, with almost 22% of the young people (aged 15-24) affected. New policies are required to develop employment alternatives and qualification options.
Bulgaria declared the integration of the West Balkan countries as another priority subject during the EU Presidency. National Network for Children warmly welcome this idea. We work with children networks from the West Balkans and hope that the children’s politics in the region will also find their place in the debate along with the conversations about digital service products and digital competences.