Croatia reconfirms its political commitment to building fair and inclusive society for children
The EU Social Summit in Porto: Investing in children is a key path to recovery
EU Social Summit in Porto
The EU Child Guarantee, a programme implemented by UNICEF with the support of the EU Commission, was endorsed by EU leaders at the Social Summit held on May 7 and 8 in Porto. The meeting gathered EU leaders and institutions, social partners and civil society to define the social agenda for Europe for the next decade.
The focus of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU was to use the summit for reaching a commitment to implement the Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights, presented by the European Commission in March.
The plan sets three main goals for 2030: having at least 78% of the population employed, 60% of workers receiving annual training and 15 million fewer people, including five million children, at risk of poverty or social exclusion, as stated in the joint Porto Social Commitment.
Highlighting that “investment in social services” has proved “critical to an appropriate response to the crisis” caused by the current pandemic, Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, described the summit as “an important milestone for Europe” and for its institutions.
Children should be at heart of the national recovery plans
Today, more than 22% of children in Europe live at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Moreover, by 2040, 1/3 of global workforce will be those whose schooling was disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic.
In cooperation with European Commission, UNICEF is supporting Governments in 7 members states, including Croatia, in piloting the EU Child Guarantee. EU Child Guarantee is a key opportunity to reduce poverty and social exclusion of children, thus changing the trajectory for millions of children in Europe.
Through EU Child Guarantee, we can make the dream of a better Europe a reality by investing in children and breaking the cycle of poverty, social exclusion and inequality.
Breaking the cycle of inequality, poverty and social exclusion
At the EU Social Summit Croatia reconfirmed its political commitment to reaching the EU Child Guarantee set goals: breaking the cycle of poverty, fighting the roots of inequalities and contributing to building fair, inclusive and resilient society across the EU. Croatia has been given the opportunity to test the EU Child Guarantee in cooperation with European Commission and UNICEF to tackle child poverty and social exclusion. To develop models of new services and best practices for children and their families, UNICEF will use its experience, partnerships and capacities by modelling integrated multidisciplinary, adequately funded community and family-based services in Medjimurje County, the region with limited access to child protection and family support services. UNICEF's approach includes three components/areas: access to child protection and family support services, access to early childhood education and access to early childhood intervention services.
Key stakeholders and partners in Croatia expressed their support to the EU Child Guarantee by sharing key messages of the programme during the EU Social Summit: European Commission in Croatia, Ognian Zlatev, President of the European Commission in Croatia, Dubravka Šuica, European Commission Vice-President for Demography and Youth, Katarina Ivanković Knežević, Director of Social Affairs (EMPL.C), Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, Marko Pavić, Head of the Committee for Regional Development and EU funds.
On the eve of the Summit, Tatjana Katkić Stanić, on behalf of the state secretary Margareta Mađerić, who is also a co-chair of the National Steering Committee, took part at the online event on European Union Solidarity “No Child Left Behind” co-organized by DG EMPL and DG REFORM.
“I believe that the EU Child Guarantee will contribute to achieving long-term sustainable results for children in Međimurje county, and that the collected evidence and good practices will guide future strategic and political decisions to reduce child poverty and social exclusion in Croatia and across the European Union", said Regina M. Castillo, UNICEF Representative in Croatia and thanked stakeholders and partners for their support and commitment to EU Child Guarantee.
On May 8 2021, the members of the European Council adopted the Porto declaration, highlighting the need to fight social exclusion, reduce inequalities and tackle poverty, including child poverty.
©UNICEF, 2021. “The information and views set out in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.”