Big, big, big European conference in Italy – yupiii !!!
It is about an important issue – child participation . In all ghettoes full of children in Italy this is surely the most important thing next to riding unicorns and floating on the majestic, years-lasting holistic effects and rainbows produced by the EU conferences on the subject.
According to the background paper distributed by the organisers the achievements in this area (child participation) are breathtaking – a framework and a toolkit for consulting children are the first of them.
I can barely imagine the excitement of children living out of begging and garbage recycling as well as those trafficked into prostitution to use The Toolkit or The Framework. The impact on their lives – instant and priceless.
Second the thematic campaigning and lobbying which resulted in gold worth mighty recommendations feared by evil dragons, ice-queens and the orcs of Mordor alike. Those saintly recommendations make instantly social assistants that work with children within broken systems proud to be paid less than janitors and cleaning personal working for governments or inter-governmental organisations. They magically improve the horrific living conditions and psychological abuse that street children face everyday.
Third there are children ambassadors and children involved in EU conferences, events and research. Yes, it is true that European funding on children has almost no impact whatsoever in the most vulnerable communities, that the child protection systems manage to produce youth that are at hundred times higher risks of long term unemployment and imprisonment. But holly cow did we manage to have children ambassadors !
We do not have a Commissioner with a clear portfolio on children, we have no EU mechanism that can implement the very good policy papers proposed by the EU bodies, the absorption of European Funds by member states with huge problems when it comes to child wellbeing remains abysmal. We have a dysfunctional Fundamental Rights Agency that produces useless papers on any possible topic in the EU and we will have yet another huge EU study that will be best-seller in EuroNarnia. Mapping law, policy and practice regarding child protection in all 28 member states – is the equivalent of Harry Potter in Brussels.
I know many ghettoes around Europe. There are thousands of children that are forced into begging, theft, garbage recycling and prostitution every day.
Millions of children in Europe live in abject poverty and are at huge risk to become yet another generation lost. There is a tiny fraction (if any) of European money that is used to solve efficiently the situation of children in ghettoes. We continue to waste money on justifying window dressing measures and blablas that help nobody but the egos and careers of people that live in their EuroNarnian bubble.
Sure thing there will be hundreds of ways to justify yet another waste of European money during yet another big conference. There are many people than need to justify their careers by defending yet another impotent talk-shop. A great opportunity to strengthen once more a culture of lip service and conformity.
A classical example of good practice.
Child participation is indeed a positive and needed thing but compared with the serious issues around child wellbeing it is like we would believe that the nexus of problems regarding the worst ghettoes is the lack of bicycles and green technologies available there.
Organise such conferences in some of the many ghettoes built in Italy by inept and racist public officials (there are enough around Milano). Involve the children there. In that way some of the “experts” will see and learn for the first time about the realities on the ground and the media attention will force the public administrations into a reaction. It will cost much less to organize it and will have a strong effect.
That is what the EU and activism on children rights should be about – spending public money efficiently and exposing the worst in order to solve the issues. It should be about courage and innovation. Talking and producing papers about the need to find a spine and creative approaches doesn’t qualify; neither does finding silly excuses for continuing with a system that helps nobody that indeed need help.
Among the speakers there is nobody I recognize with hands-on experience on Roma. It happens that Roma children are considered to be the most vulnerable children by the EU.
Roberto Maroni – is a speaker ( http://eurochildannualconference2013.org/en/conference/speakers/ third to the end). He is the racist Italian minister that promoted the forced fingerprinting of Roma children a few years ago – measure that forced the European Commission to threatened Italy with infringement procedures.
 meaning mainly we get children to talk at EU conferences and take in account their opinions in EU researches and we act as this is the discovery of the century