ENOC Bureau meetings with European Stakeholders in Brussels

The first ENOC Bureau meeting for 2020 took place on 21 January 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The Bureau discussed and agreed on a number of important issues for the Network such as planned activities, events and projects to be launched and implemented in 2020, but also membership, administrative and finance issues.

On the same occasion, the ENOC Bureau carried out a number of meetings with European stakeholders to discuss respective work plans and explore joint working and cooperation opportunities.

The Bureau first met with Valeria Setti, European Commission Coordinator on Children’s Rights and her team. She presented the work plan of the European Commission related to children’s rights, especially the timeframe for the development of the new European Commission Strategy on Children’s Rights. Together they discussed what could be ENOC’s role in the preparatory phase of the Strategy, to help reach national organisations, collect inputs and consult children and young people through the ENYA project. The ENOC Chair, Koulla Yiasouma (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People), presented the ENOC planned activities around the 2020 annual theme, “Child Rights Impact Assessment” (CRIA). The ENOC Bureau also discussed funding opportunities, particularly for non-EU ENOC members.

The ENOC Bureau then carried out a contact meeting with the new Vice-Chair of the European Parliament and EP Coordinator on children’s rights, Ewa Kopacz, who took up the function on July 3rd, 2019. Ewa Kopacz introduced herself and her new role of EP Coordinator on children’s rights. She highlighted her will to strengthen the cooperation between ENOC and the European Parliament, and to establish direct contact with Ombudspersons and Commissioners for Children. She presented the priorities for her mandate, among others cross-border family issues and child abduction, children’s rights in the digital environment, best interests of the child and child mental health. The ENOC Chair presented the work of ENOC, especially the 2019 Statement on children’s rights in the digital environment, as well as the work plan for 2020 on CRIA. Discussions also touched upon the challenges faced in the European Parliament to implement child participation.

A meeting with two of the new Co-Chairs of the European Parliament Intergroup on children’s rights MEPs Saskia Bricmont and David Lega, and the Coordinator of the Intergroup Emilio Puccio was also organised. Emilio Puccio presented the new Co-Chairs and their main responsibilities, as well as the Resolution on Children’s Rights adopted by the European Parliament on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC. The main priorities of the Intergroup in 2020 will be among others the appointment of an EU Special Representative on Children’s Rights and the creation of an EU Centre for the prevention and protection of exploited children. The ENOC Bureau discussed child participation with the Co-Chairs and shared experiences and good practices at members’ and ENYA’s levels. The ENOC Chair briefly presented the Network – membership, operation, role, ENYA Child participation project, etc. – and the most recent thematic focus of ENOC’s work. She also insisted on the fact that the work and expertise of the European Parliament would be very helpful for ENOC’s 2020 work on CRIA. Potential areas of cooperation, including with the European Parliament Committees were explored. Saskia Bricmont also asked about ENOC’s work on detention of children for immigration purposes and Koulla Yiasouma presented the recently published statement on Ending Child Immigration Detention.

The ENOC Bureau also identified and met a new potential partner: the European Data Protection Board, an independent European body which contributes to the consistent application of data protection rules throughout the European Union, and promotes cooperation between the EU’s data protection authorities. The ENOC Chair presented ENOC and its recent and planned activities. She introduced ENOC’s 2019 work on “children’s rights in the digital environment”, as well as some of the main recommendations of the ENOC statement on this theme. The ENOC Bureau explored with Andrea Jelinek, Chair of the European Data Protection Board, how independent institutions on children’s rights could help the work of the European Data Protection Board, especially regarding the protection of children and young people’s data in the digital environment. Andrea Jelinek presented the EDPB Work Plan for 2019-2020 which includes the adoption of Guidelines on children’s data. The ENOC Bureau also underlined the importance of including child participation and child friendly language in the work of the EDPB.

ENOC Bureau 2019-2020:

Ms. Koulla Yiasouma, ENOC Chair (Northern Ireland Commission for Children and Young People, Northern Ireland, UK)

Ms. Geneviève Avenard, ENOC Past-Chair (Deputy Ombudsperson for Children’s Rights, France);

Mr. Bruce Adamson, ENOC Chair-elect (Children and Young People Commissioner, Scotland, UK);

Ms. Salvör Nordal, ENOC Treasurer (Ombudsperson for Children, Iceland);

Mr. Niall Muldoon, ENOC Secretary (Ombudsman for Children, Ireland);