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In the spotlight

  • With childhood obesity on the rise what food policies are in place in European schools?

    With childhood obesity on the rise what food policies are in place in European schools?

    Why are schools important when it comes to children and their health?

    As the Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, stated ‘Nearly one in every three children in Europe are overweight or obese, and as such, are at risk developing a number of preventable diseases’. With childhood obesity on the rise, efforts need to be made to encourage children to adopt healthy lifestyles and eating patterns. It has been noted that schools are key, protected environments where encouragement and guidance can be provided to children so that they learn how to live healthy lives.

  • European Commission proposal to increase protection for children in criminal proceedings

    European Commission proposal to increase protection for children in criminal proceedings

    Justice Ministers from the Member States (MS) agreed on 6th June 2014 on a general approach to safeguarding children during criminal court proceedings improving the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This initial informal agreement in the Justice Council allows for a trilogue discussion between the Council of Ministers (CoM), European Parliament (EP) and the European Commission (EC) at the end of November 2014. Coinciding with this agreement, the Commission also published a report on the children’s involvement in criminal and judicial proceedings.

  • Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child

    Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child

    This November marks UNICEF’s 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 25 years ago UNICEF made a promise to children across the world that they would do their upmost to protect their rights so that they could develop, learn and fulfil their potential.

  • Cyberbullying risks permanent harm to European children

    Cyberbullying risks permanent harm to European children

    In recent years, media attention has intensified on child- and teenage suicides which can be connected to bullying via the Internet. However, while the most tragic cases are relatively few, cyberbullying is a serious threat and has long-lasting impacts on the victims. More than half (55%) of children in Europe who have been bullied said they became depressed as a result, with over a third saying they harmed themselves (35%) or thought about suicide (38%), according to a survey  conducted by BeatBullying and Coface’s #DeleteCyberbullying campaign.

  • Childcare costs in Europe affect poor families disproportionately

    Childcare costs in Europe affect poor families disproportionately

    In several European countries, childcare costs place a heavy burden on working parents. A recent UK report has emphasized that the average annual costs of childcare have seen sharp rises in the past years and have grown beyond the average yearly mortgage payments. According to the OECD, the average cost for childcare for all OECD countries is 11.8% of parental net income (calculated on a family where two parents earn average wage).  In Europe, this figure ranges from 26.6% for the UK to 4.9% for Greece.  In addition to the limited affordability, a European review on childcare services found that the availability of childcare is also limited both in terms of care facilities on offer and the opening hours of structures.

  • The impact of early childhood education and care and parenting programs

    The impact of early childhood education and care and parenting programs

    Over the past decades, interest in the benefits of early childhood and modified parental leave has grown. The European Commission has passed legislation to favour both access to early childhood education and care (through the Barcelona objectives) and to amend workers’ rights when it comes to parental leave. At the same time, the EU and other policy organisations have developed a keen interest in finding out ‘what works’ in various policy areas: this trend led to the creation of EPIC in 2012. Below, some of EPIC’s work on childcare and ECEC and practices that work is reviewed; recent evidence from beyond the EU is also discussed.