UNICEF and the Council of the European Union
A continuous dialogue for children's rights between EU Member States
The Council of the European Union is an EU institution made up of the Ministers of the 28 Member States.
UNICEF works closely with several Working Parties within the Council, namely COHAFA, CONUN, COHOM, CODEV and has established an EU Group of Friends, an informal platform for the EU Member States to discuss the promotion of the rights of children.
The EU Group of Friends of Children represents a flexible platform for EU Member States to engage in dialogue concerning the promotion of children's’ rights. The Group gathers on thematic issues of importance to children, share information, and inform decision-making processes on issues which impact on children’s rights and well-being.
Every six months, UNICEF discusses with the member state holding the presidency of the EU, their priorities and plans for promoting child rights. Such as with the Estonian presidency on "Children in the digital age" or with the Finish presidency on "Artificial intelligence fostering child rights".
The Council Working Party on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA) offers a platform where the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (DG ECHO) and the EU Member States exchange information on humanitarian crises and assess humanitarian needs.
The United Nations Working Party (CONUN) is responsible for developing common EU policy on United Nations (UN) matters of interest to the EU Member States.
The Human Rights Working Group (COHOM) monitors developments relating to human rights throughout the world and prepares the EU’s approach to certain issues. The group has drafted guidelines for EU action in a range of areas, including the death penalty, torture, children in armed conflict, the rights of the child, and violence and discrimination against women.
The Working Party on Development Cooperation (CODEV) handles development cooperation policy aspects, contributing to the eradication of poverty through rights-based approaches.
The Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration
For the first time ever have children been addressing a European Union Council Meeting.
Ariana and Rareș, Romanian Junior Ambassadors to the EU, presented on 22 May 2019, the Bucharest EU Children's Declaration to youth and education ministers of all 28 EU Member States in Brussels.
The policy debate at the Youth Council Meeting of the EU highlighted the need to make child participation a priority and a reality at national and European levels.