Volume 46 (2009)

Volume 46 (2009) / Issue 1

Helen Stalford, Elenor Drywood, 'Coming of age? Children’s rights in the European Union' (2009) 46 Common Market Law Review, Issue 1, pp. 143–172


Children’s rights issues have become an increasingly prominent aspect of EU law and policy making over the past decade. What has traditionally been characterized by scattered, ad hoc measures spanning a range of areas has more recently converged into a more direct, coherent and long term “Children’s Rights Strategy”. This culminated in the Commission’s 2006 Communication, “Towards an EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child”, which summarized the EU’s achievements in various areas of children’s rights to date, and sets out a series of short and long term goals to build on this success.

In an attempt to assess the value of this Strategy, this paper takes a detailed and critical look at the nature and scope of existing EU children’s rights provision. It questions the potential of the law to enhance children’s rights in any meaningful way in the face of limited legal competence, and points to currency of non–binding measures as a more effective way of mobilizing Member States to enhance children’s rights protection. In the process, the paper interrogates the ideological foundation of its children’s rights campaign and points to the need for additional procedural, budgetary and institutional changes to further this endeavour.

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ISSN: 0165-0750
ID: COLA2009005