The European Parliament Coordinator on children’s rights
Guided by the “best interest of the child” principle, the Coordinator works to ensure the promotion and protection of children’s rights in all EU policies and legislation. She seeks to assist citizens experiencing parental child abduction and other cross-border family disputes. She advocates closer collaboration with the judicial and administrative bodies and seeks to promote mediation in cross-border family matters.
Cross-border parental child abduction
If your child has been abducted or you have concerns this is about to happen, the European Parliament Coordinator can help you by providing information and support on what you can do to address the situation.
If you are working in this field, e.g. if you are a judge, Central Authority, lawyer, mediator, or work for an NGO in this field, the European Parliament Coordinator would like to work with you.
The European Parliament actively promotes the development and protection of the rights of the child in Europe. The Coordinator will engage with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to ensure that the work of the Parliament will respect, protect and promote children’s rights.
Historically, the position of Coordinator was named "Mediator for Children Victims of International Parental Abduction" since its creation in 1987 on the initiative of Lord Plumb, the then President of the European Parliament. The previous mediators were Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (2017-2019), Mairead McGuinness (2014-2017), Roberta Angelilli (2009-2014), Evelyne Gebhardt (2004-2009), Mary Banotti (1995-2004) and Marie-Claude Vayssade (1987-1994).
At the time, there was little or no collaboration between EU Member States in the area of family law. The creation of the Mediator’s position was then a pragmatic solution to increased demands that MEPs were receiving from citizens facing cross-border child abduction or access problems. The role of mediator has evolved over the years. It was re-named “the European Parliament Coordinator on Children’s Rights” in April 2018 under Elisabeth Morin-Chartier to reflect the evolution of the mandate granted to the position, to encompass children’s rights.
Article 24 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: The rights of the child
1. Children shall have the right to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being. They may express their views freely. Such views shall be taken into consideration on matters which concern them in accordance with their age and maturity.
2. In all actions relating to children, whether taken by public authorities or private institutions, the child’s best interests must be a primary consideration.
3. Every child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis a personal relationship and direct contact with both his or her parents, unless that is contrary to his or her interests.