In the beginning of May, the European Commission will publish its Communication for the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The initial plans of the European Commission indicate potential changes to a range of financial instruments that have an impact on the protection and integration of children in migration, including the transfer of the budget for integration of non-EU nationals to the European Social Fund, the setting up of an Integrated Border Management Fund and the consolidation of multiple instruments into one External Instrument with a suggested focus or potentially earmarked funding on migration. The MFF needs to fully comply with the rights and principles enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and relevant international instruments, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Across the world, there are an estimated 31 million children living outside their country of birth, and there are an estimated 5.4 million child migrants in Europe. The EU has a responsibility to ensure that EU funding streams reach children in migration, seek to equally protect them and fulfil their best interests, regardless of their migration and/or citizenship status or where they are growing up.
PICUM together with 35 other organisations, urge the European Union to prioritise the rights of children in migration in the post-2020 budget period, in the spirit of the 2017 Commission Communication on the protection of children in migration, the European Commission toolkit on the use of EU funds for the integration of people with migrant background, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
PICUM are calling on the EU to commit and to ensure consistency and application of the following for both internal and external funding instruments:
- Ensure that EU funding complies with existing human- and fundamental rights treaties and obligations
- Direct EU funding towards the strengthening of national child protection systems
- Prohibit any use of EU funding for the detention of children in migration
- Prevent any use of EU funding for the segregation and institutionalisation of children in migration
- Direct EU funding to the development of community-based alternatives that will contribute to children’s integration
- Invest EU funding in child and youth-centred approaches that are participatory, empowering, and innovative
- Ensure absorption of funding and promote the participation of civil society and service users in allocation and monitoring of EU funding
- Invest EU funding in mechanisms for cross-border child protection
Whilst the UK Government tries to force a parting of the waves post Brexit, the reality is that issues such as the welfare and migration of children over state borders, will continue to bring together civil society organisations.