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Parlamento Europeo - 13 dicembre 1991
Text adopted on 13.12.91



on the problems of children in the European Community

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the motions for resolutions by:

(a)Mr Newman on the proposed UNICEF 'World summit for

children' (B3-0173/89)

(b)Mr Vandemeulebroucke on the common market in films and



(c)Mrs Muscardini on pay-TV for children (B3-1866/90),

- having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights

of the Child of 20 November 1989,

- having regard to the communication from the Commission

concerning its action programme relating to the

implementation of the Community charter of fundamental social

rights for workers,

- having regard to the Council directive of 3 May 1988 on the

approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning the

safety of toys (88/378/EEC),

- having regard to the Council directive of 3 October 1989 on

the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law,

regulation or administrative action in Member States

concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities


- having regard to the proposal for a Council recommendation on

the convergence of social protection objectives and policies

(COM(91) 0228) of 27 June 1991,

- having regard to its resolution on child abuse of 17 January


- having regard to its resolution on child care infrastructures

of 10 March 1986,

- having regard to its resolution on a European charter for

children in hospital of 13 May 1986,

- having regard to its resolution on one-parent families of 8

July 1986,

- having regard to its resolution on child labour of 16 June


- having regard to its resolution on illiteracy and education

for children whose parents have no fixed abode of 17 March


- having regard to its resolution on women and children in

prison of 26 May 1989,

- having regard to the report of its Committee of Inquiry into

racism and xenophobia on the findings of the Committee,

- having regard to its opinion of 15 May 1991 on the Commission

proposal for a decision of the Council and the Ministers for

Health of the Member States meeting within the Council

adopting a plan of action in the framework of the 1991-1993

'Europe against AIDS' programme,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Youth,

Culture, Education, the Media and Sport (A3-0314/91),

A. whereas a child is defined as 'every human being below the

age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the

child, majority is attained earlier',

B. whereas there are at least 120 million children living in the

Community, responsibility for whose future lies primarily

with their parents but also with society as a whole and the

public authorities in particular, who must encourage the

creation of an environment favourable to the growth and

economic development of these children,

C. whereas, therefore, the European Community should protect the

most fundamental rights of children to enable every child to

enjoy a dignified and happy childhood and develop its

personality freely and with confidence in itself and others;

whereas this is the only way of preparing children to take

their future place in society with a sense of responsibility,

solidarity and confidence, qualities which are the

foundations for a fulfilled life,

D. whereas many aspects of the process of European integration

directly affect children's lives; whereas, however, the

Community institutions take very little account of children

in their decision-making, in spite of the fact that children,

as the weakest members of our society, require particular

care and protection,

E. whereas a policy for children must embrace forms of action

required to guarantee their rights, in view of the fact that

children's welfare is intimately bound up with the welfare of

the family,

F. having regard, in addition, to the disturbing growth of

groups or sects whose internal practices are not always in

the interests of the child (removal of children from home,

health care, education),

G. whereas, in the light of further progress towards the

completion of the internal market and plans to establish

political union and economic and monetary union, it is

necessary to define a Community policy on children and young

people, respecting the principle of subsidiarity,

H. whereas the intergovernmental conferences provide an historic

opportunity to define and expand Community powers in matters

relating to children, youth and education,

I. whereas freedom of movement for parents must not be achieved

at the expense of their children; whereas the Community must

therefore promote equality of opportunity for children and

access to education without any discrimination, and must

combat all forms of racism and xenophobia, in conjunction

with the Member States,

J. whereas a European education policy should take account of

the existing cultural and linguistic diversity and could be

instrumental in fostering a European outlook and the idea of

a European society,

K. whereas children, too, have a right to cultural and artistic


L. whereas youth crime is sadly on the increase in the Community

and whereas the prevention of crime and the application of

juvenile criminal law represents a particular challenge to

the Community to give these young people at risk the

opportunity of taking on a constructive role in society,

M. whereas the European Community must address the ethical and

legal problems arising from new procreative technologies

(artificial fertilization, in vitro fertilization,

transplantation of embryos),

N. whereas the protection of children must be based on

children's interests and the need to respect their freedom

and dignity, their identities and their individual and

collective characteristics,

1. Calls upon the Member States to ratify the UN Convention on

the Rights of the Child forthwith and unreservedly;

2. Calls for a legally binding European Charter of Children's


3. Calls for the creation of a legal basis in the European

treaties to enable a Community policy on children to be

formulated, respecting the principle of subsidiarity;

4. Calls for the setting up of a Working Party on Children's

Rights and calls on the Member States to follow this example;

5. Calls urgently for an in-depth study of the situation of

children in the Community, covering all possible aspects of

children's lives, in order to identify specific Community

priorities for action in this field, to define an effective

policy on children and to provide wide-ranging information on

the subject;

6. Notes that childcare facilities in nearly all Member States

are inadequate and therefore calls for an EC Directive on the

creation of adequate facilities;

7. Notes that the Council has still not adopted the EC Directive

on parental leave and calls for this to be done immediately;

8. Stresses the right of children to the protection and

preservation of vital resources (drinking water, food, air,

etc.) and calls for EEC environmental standards to take

account of children's more sensitive organisms;

9. Notes that many children are already suffering from

environment-related illnesses, and that there is a need both

to remove the cause of such illnesses and to treat their

symptoms by means of emergency rehabilitation programmes;

10.Calls for the ESF to contribute to the creation of social

housing in cities, planned to meet environmental requirements

and the needs of families and taking particular account of

the needs of single-parent and large families;

11.Notes that the increasing amount of traffic in European

cities has created hostile conditions for children and

therefore calls for a pan- European transport policy aimed at

developing schemes which will contribute to greater road


12.Calls for a special school programme of environmental

education for children;

13.Calls for a raising of public awareness with regard to all

forms of violence against children - whether physical, sexual

or psychological - and for an exchange of information to be

promoted among Member States on action to combat such


14.Calls, in view of the increasing incidence of child abduction

in the Community either by one of the child's parents or by

unrelated persons, for the harmonization of Member States'

legislation in this area and proposes that a register of

missing children be set up for the approximately six thousand

children missing in the Community;

15.Calls on the Council to include education and training among

the Community's priorities and to develop a coherent

education policy which will make better use of the available

human resources while respecting the principle of

subsidiarity and will create opportunities for mobility in

school education by means of exchange programmes;

16.Calls for the active involvement of children in cultural

exchanges (theatrical, musical, arts and crafts events) which

take place within the Community in the context of school and

leisure activities;

17.Calls on the Commission to ensure that in all the Member

States physically, mentally or sensorially handicapped

children enjoy adequate levels of care to allow them to lead

their own lives and facilitate their social integration;

18.Calls for a ban on the use of children for videos of a

pornographic or violent nature;

19.Considers that an intermediate category of films should be

created between the 'universal' and 'adults only' categories

in order to protect young viewers from violence and

pornography and calls in addition for the sale and hire of

videos with pornographic and violent contents to be

restricted to particular outlets;

20.Calls for restrictions on advertising during children's TV

programmes and for the advertising of tobacco, alcohol and

medicaments to be prohibited at such times;

21.Calls urgently for the adoption of an EC directive setting

the minimum age at which children can work (to earn a living

or help support the family) at 15;

22.Calls, therefore, for other Member States to follow the

example of Denmark and introduce an official children's legal


23.Calls on the Member States to establish a special system of

legal provisions for minors under 18 years of age, involving

educationalists, social workers and psychologists, taking

account of the fact that the objective of legal proceedings

is education, not repression;

24.Considers that a study should be carried out into the

situation of children whose mothers are in prison and of the

long-term effects on children whose family life has been

disrupted by a period of imprisonment or one of whose parents

has been in prison; believes there is also a need for a

detailed study on the situation and lifestyle of children

within sects or similar groups, on the basis of respect for

the principles set out in the Convention on the Rights of the


25.Notes that the Community has no power to harmonize the law on

adoption, but nevertheless proposes, in view of numerous

illegal adoption practices, that the Member States be

encouraged to cooperate on the exchange of information and

recognition of the authorities responsible for adoption


26.Calls for the coordination of the law of descent at European

level and considers that every child must have the right to

know who its biological parents are and to be informed about

any genetic abnormalities and whether these are hereditary;

27.Calls for the problem of children to be taken into account in

the 'Europe Against AIDS' programme;

28.Proposes that a programme be launched on the lines of 'SOS

Kinderdörfer' to help AIDS orphans in the ACP countries;

29.Calls on the Commission, as a matter of urgency, to submit a

programme of action for children in the Community, endowed

with sufficient funds, with a view to the completion of the

Single Market in 1992;

30.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the

Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member


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