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Brussels, 15 February 2007

116000, the single EU hotline number for missing children

The Commission has adopted today the Decision reserving the 116000 telephone number in all Member States as a hotline for reporting missing children. Other common Europe-wide telephone services of social value starting with 116 may soon be reserved following this Decision.

"I am delighted that today the first major step towards a single EU hotline number for missing children has been taken," said EU Telecom Commissioner Viviane Reding. "I urge Member States to act now to make this a reality, so that Europe's parents will soon know that they are able to call this number and get immediate help."

The first number to be reserved Europe-wide is 116000. All other numbers beginning with 116 are also reserved for social services in Europe and this Decision is binding on Member States. These freephone numbers and the services they provide will benefit citizens by helping those in difficulty, or by contributing to their well-being or safety.

A public consultation will be launched in March to identify social services that may benefit from 116 numbers which may then also be reserved.

The Decision follows discussion and agreement with Member States (See IP/06/1866). It requires Member States to permit listed services to be offered, but does not oblige Member States to offer these services. In many cases, services will be provided by private organisations. Choosing which organisation provides such a service in each Member State will be a national responsibility.

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