Brussels, 25 May 2012
Statement by Vice-Presidents Viviane Reding and Neelie Kroes on International Missing Children's Day
European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner said: "The International Day of Missing Children is essential to draw attention to the plight of all missing children and their loved ones. As every year, the European Commission is supporting the International Day to make sure we remember children who have gone missing, today and on every other day of the year. As families and children travel more and more within the European Union, we need phone numbers that are known by everyone and are the same whether you are calling from your home in Austria or your holiday destination in Spain."
She added: "In 2012, the European Commission made €3.6 million funding available for the proper set-up and functioning of 116000 hotlines and child abduction alert mechanisms. Despite the funding boost, progress is far too slow: 10 Member States do not yet have an operational 116000 hotline. On 22 May, Vice-President Kroes and I wrote to these Member States to call on them to make the 116 000 hotline operational as soon as possible. This hotline can save lives. Member States should take the matter seriously."
Vice-President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda added: "I urge every parent or carer to keep the number 116 000 within reach. 82% of Europeans have never heard of this life-saving 116 initiative. That is a shame that national governments must work with the European Commission to fix, to make Europe a safer place for all children."
To mark International Missing Children Day, give a boost to the speedy and efficient implementation of the 116 000 hotline and child abduction alert mechanisms in all Member States, the Commission is organising a high-level Conference on "Missing Children: closing the gaps: 116000 hotlines and child abduction alert mechanisms". The conference, organised in cooperation with Missing Children Europe, will be held on 30 May in Brussels.
On 17 November 2010, the Commission adopted a report on the EU-wide emergency number for missing children (see IP/10/1513). In the report, "Dial 116 000: European hotline for missing children," the Commission renewed its call to Member States to implement the 116 000 hotline as a matter of priority. This was reiterated in the EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child, adopted on 15 February 2011 (see IP/11/156).
In response to the European Commission's funding offer for missing children hotlines, €1.9 million has now been allocated to organisations in 14 Member States (BE, BG, CY, DK, EE, ES, HU, IE, IT, NL, PL, RO, SK, UK) out of which 4 new hotlines will be launched in BG, CY, IE and UK, while funding for the other 10 will be used to considerably improve the quality of the service. A second call was launched with a deadline for applications of 22 May 2012, to allow other Member States to profit from the remaining €1.1m funding available in 2012.
Finally, the Commission also made €600,000 available towards the establishment of child abduction alert mechanisms, funds which will be awarded to Member States by the end of 2012.
In 2011 the Commission also forged a strong coalition with telecommunications operators (via GSM Association) to increase and streamline publicity for 116 000 services in 14 Member States (over 250 million citizens). 2012 actions will include web publicity, text messages and informing subscribers through their bills. For example, the mobile operators Proximus and Base already installed 116000 among the default numbers of its SIM toolkits. Many Europe-wide operators, such as Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telenor and Vodafone, agreed to raise awareness through their local affiliates in more than one Member State, while Mobistar, TDC Denmark, Telekom Austria, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Telia Sonera and Wind Hellas will promote 116 000 in their domestic markets through a diverse range of actions.
In April 2012, the Commission also launched a new 116 website to boost awareness of 116 000 and related services:
For more information
Missing Children Europe website:
Awareness raising video:
European Commission - Children's rights
State of implementation of the 116 000 in the Member States
The 116000 hotline is currently operational in 17 Member States: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Stichting de Ombudsman
Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. (ITAKA – Centre for Missing People)
Orange SK (Slovak Board of UNICEF)
ZDRUŽENJE POLICISTOV SLOVENIJE – transferred to zAVOD
Charity Missing People
In United Kingdom the hotline is partially operational