Council Recommendation Establishing the European Child Guarantee
The European Child Guarantee was approved unanimously by a Council Recommendation on 14 June 2021.
“ensure the participation of regional, local and other relevant authorities, children and relevant stakeholders representing civil society, non-governmental organisations, educational establishments and bodies responsible for promoting social inclusion and integration, children’s rights, inclusive education and non-discrimination, including national equality bodies throughout the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the [Child Guarantee National] action plan”3
The aim of the recommendation is to prevent and combat social exclusion of children in need by guaranteeing access to a set of key services, to combat child poverty and fostering equal opportunities. In particular, it is recommended that Member States guarantee effective and free access to early childhood education and care, education and school-based activities, at least one healthy meal each school day and healthcare, as well as effective access to healthy nutrition and adequate housing.
The recommendation also sets out a number of proposed measures for Member States, such as:
- building a policy framework to address social exclusion of children;
- identifying and addressing financial and non-financial barriers to participation in early childhood education and care, education and school-based activities;
- providing at least one healthy meal each school day;
- ensuring provision of educational materials, including digital educational tools, books, uniforms and any required clothing;
- providing transport to early childhood education and care and education establishments;
- ensuring equal and inclusive access to school-based activities, including participation in school trips and sport, leisure and cultural activities;
- implementing accessible health promotion and disease prevention programmes targeting children in need and their families;
- providing for priority and timely access to social housing or housing assistance for children in need and their families.
The Council Recommendation establishing the European Child Guarantee is a historic milestone for the protection of children’s rights in Europe. It clearly demonstrates that all EU 27 countries recognize the urgent need to tackle child poverty and are committed to act on behalf of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children to break the cycle of poverty and promote more inclusive societies where all children can thrive.