Naples, Italy, a colourful march in support of migrants.Credit: ANSA/CIRO FUSCO
Naples, Italy, a colourful march in support of migrants.Credit: ANSA/CIRO FUSCO

About two out of every three children and young adults in over 20 European countries feel welcoming towards migrants, according to a report by UNICEF and Eurochild.

Sixty-eight percent of children and adolescents in over 20 European countries feel welcoming and curious towards people from different nationalities living in their country. That's according to the findings of the 'Europe Kids Want' online survey released Tuesday by UNICEF and Eurochild. 

The sample group included: children under age 9 (3.2%), those age 10-14 (35.2%), 15-17 (39.2%) and 18-30 (22.4%). Tolerance and equal treatment towards migrants regardless of their religion, culture or language are the most significant aspects of the survey. 

The survey also shows that 53% of children and youths are concerned about not finding a job in the future. The concern was especially acutely felt in Italy, Serbia, Spain, Ireland and Bulgaria. Some 74% of respondents said that school was not preparing them well enough for their future lives. 

14,000 participants from 23 countries 

The 'Europe Kids Want' online survey was developed by children's rights experts and tested with children before being launched in June this year. In total, nearly 14,000 children and young people from 23 countries participated in the survey during four months, providing over 38,000 responses to topics such as school safety, climate change, family environment and online behavior. The poll remains open and is available in 29 languages. 

"There are at least 100 million children and adolescents living in the European Union today who should have their voices heard on decisions about their futures," said UNICEF Deputy Director Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, who was in Brussels for World Children's Day celebrations at the European Parliament. "The European Parliament is opening its doors today for young people to get that conversation started and help shape the Europe of tomorrow, and we are excited to join this conversation." 

Children's participation in decision-making lacking 

"Children's participation in public decision-making is not a 'nice to have', it is a necessary contributor to better decisions and to more participatory democracy. While annual meetings are symbolically important for dialogue between our European decision-makers and children, we also need on-going government action at local, national and EU levels to involve children. We must not think of children 'as the future' but rather 'as change-makers today", added Eurochild Interim President Hanna Heinonen.

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