I gave a presentation of the opinion highlighting the key points from the EESC opinion and also the points discussed in the study group. These points included:
- priority focus on the Rights of Child and the Best Interests of the Child beyond national borders.
- The need for common minimum standards on enforcement procedures and on hearing of the child.
- The need for urgent protective measures where the child is a risk from harm
- Implementation of additional training for judges
- Increased cooperation between central authorities, including greater legal clarity on Article 55 ( parental responsibility)
Additionally I highlighted the preference for children to be placed first with family before institutional care was considered.
I raised the issue of bilateral agreements for non-EU countries and especially where they were not signatories of the Hague Convention on child abduction.
Finally I raised the question of the definition of marriage in today’s modern Europe and the requirement to comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights and all its Articles.
MEP Tadeusz Zwiefka gave the European Parliaments position on the same dossier, which was in line with the views from the EESC. Several other MEPs took the floor and reiterated the priorities of the Best interests of the Child even over national interests.
MEP Zwiefka expressed the importance of this dossier and its impact and said that more work in the field was necessary. I shared the Committee’s willingness to engage as partners further in such discussions.
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