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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 24 May 2013

Statement by Vice-Presidents Viviane Reding and Neelie Kroes on International Missing Children's Day

Ahead of International Missing Children’s Day (25 May), European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner said:

"As every year, the European Commission is supporting International Missing Children 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 home or from holiday, from Finland to Greece."

She added: "The European Commission made €3.6 million funding available in 2012 and €5.1 million in 2013 for the proper set-up and functioning of 116 000 hotlines and child abduction alert mechanisms. With this funding boost, progress has been accelerated and 23 Member States now have an operational 116 000 hotline, with all but one of the remaining countries soon expected to launch the hotlines as a result of EU funding.

I call on Finland – the only Member State yet to set up a hotline – to follow the example set by all the other EU countries and to swiftly make the missing children hotline operational. This hotline can help to save lives – but it can only work fully if all Member States do their job.”

Vice-President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda added:

"Every parent should know who they can call if their child goes missing. The 116 000 hotline is a great step forward, but now national authorities need to turn their legal obligation into practical action – and ensure more people are aware of this vital service. We already have some good examples, but it is very important that telecom operators intensify their efforts too."

Background

To mark International Missing Children Day, give a boost to the speedy and efficient implementation of the 116 000 hotline, and to promote quality and future-proofing of the hotlines in all Member States, the Commission is organising the third Conference on "Missing Children: innovative approaches and challenges to finding missing children". The conference, organised in cooperation with the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and Missing Children Europe, will be held on 4 June 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, €4.4 million has now been allocated to organisations in 17 Member States (Belgium, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia and the UK). Three new hotlines will be launched in Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden – and the Commission will closely follow their actual implementation. Meanwhile, funding for the other 14 will be used to improve the quality of the existing service. This means that thanks to determined Commission action all but one of the EU's 27 Member States now have or will soon have an operational 116 hotline – a momentous achievement which is helping parents and local authorities across Europe react quickly and save lives.

A separate call for proposals will be launched in 2013 for the €600,000 available for child abduction alert mechanisms. Child abduction alert mechanisms are crucial when a child's life is deemed to be at risk.

In 2011, the Commission also forged a strong coalition with telecommunications operators (via a GSM Association) to increase and streamline publicity for 116 000 services in 14 Member States. 2012/13 actions included web publicity, text messages and informing subscribers through their bills. For example, the mobile operators Proximus and Base already installed 116 000 as default numbers in their 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 2013, the Commission also launched a new 116 website to boost awareness of 116 000 and related services:

http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/116-helplines

For more information

European Commission - Children's rights

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/rights-child/hotline/index_en.htm

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:

http://ec.europa.eu/reding

Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU

Neelie Kroes website

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter

Missing Children Europe website:

http://www.missingchildreneurope.eu/

ANNEX

State of implementation of the 116 000 in the Member States
The 116000 hotline is currently operational in 23 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom.

EU countries

116 000

Assigned

116 000

Operational

116 000

Assigned to or operated by

Austria

 Yes

October 2012 

Österreichischer Rundfunk/Rat auf Draht

Belgium

Yes

May
2009

Child FOCUS

Bulgaria

Yes

December 2012 

Tsentar Nadya

Cyprus

 Yes

June 2012 

SPAVO (Association for the prevention and handling of violence in family)

and Hope for Children/UNCRC Policy Center 

Czech Republic

 Yes

 March 2013

 Ztracené dítě 

Denmark

Yes

February 2009

TDC (Thora Center)

Estonia

Yes

January 2011

Estonian Advice Centre (Eesti Abikeskused)

Finland

No 

 

 

France

Yes

May
2009

INAVEM Fédération nationale d'aide aux victimes; Fondation pour l'Enfance (FPE)

Germany

Yes

August 2011

Initiative Vermisste Kinder

Greece

Yes

October 2008

The Smile of the Child

Hungary

Yes

June
2008

Kék Vonal

EU countries

116 000

Assigned

116 000

Operational

116 000

Assigned to or operated by

Ireland

Yes

December 2012 

Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Italy

Yes

May
2009

Telefono Azzuro

Latvia

Yes

 

Bezvests.lv

Lithuania

Yes 

 

Missing Persons' Families Support Centre

Luxembourg

Yes

October 2012 

Office National de l'Enfance and
Police Grand-Ducale

Malta

Yes

December 2010

Malta Police Force

Netherlands

Yes

September 2008

Centrum Internationale Kinderontvoering

Poland

Yes

March
2009

Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. (ITAKA - Centre for Missing People)

Portugal

Yes

September 2007

Instituto de Apoio à Criança

Romania

Yes

May
2009

Rometelecom (Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children)

Slovakia

Yes

May
2009

Assigned to Orange SK, provided by Slovak Board of UNICEF

Slovenia

Yes

 June 2011

Assigned to the Association of Police Officers, transferred to "Zavod 116"  info@zavod116.si

Spain

Yes

September 2010

Fundación ANAR

Sweden

 Yes

 

SOS Alarm 

United Kingdom

Yes

 July 2010

Charity Missing People


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