Children constitute 20 percent of the EU’s population, and although they are not eligible to vote, policy decisions made today profoundly affect them.

As European citizens enter the election phase to choose the new members of the European Parliament, the question arises: are children’s interests adequately represented in the programmes of the European Parties?

Despite the broad cross-party support for the well-being of children, bold and concrete political actions often fall short when it comes to including children in decision-making processes or addressing critical issues such as child poverty.

The Good Lobby has analysed European Parties’ manifestos to understand their commitment to children’s rights. This analysis aims to provide a clear picture of the different levels of attention to the rights and well-being of the youngest members of our society.

The Good Lobby Euromanifestos analysis follows the recent joint study “Empowering Children to Empower the Future: Rethinking Children’s Rights Governance in the European Union” by The Good Lobby and UNICEF. Some of the study’s final recommendations have also been integrated into the latest Save the Children’s guide for policymakers for the upcoming 2024-2029 mandate. 

To define its methodology, The Good Lobby’s analysis of the Euromanifestos is structured around the categories identified in UNICEF’s study, “European Elections – What are the political parties saying about children?

Disclaimer: Given the challenges in distinguishing between children and youth in public discourse, our analysis and related ranking also consider measures targeting individuals above the age of 18.

Reform ideas

  • Enforcement of the EU Code of Conduct on Disinformation
  • European Digital Watchdog
  • Extention of the Erasmus+ programmes to students at all educational levels
  • Ensure every European child learns at least one foreign language starting from primary school
  • Guarantee equal opportunities for educational institutions in all candidate countries

Reform Ideas

  • Universal access to early childhood education and care 
  • Early childhood education and care must be counted as social investment in the EU fiscal framework.
  • Integrated EU anti-poverty strategy to halve child poverty by 2030 and eliminate child poverty by 2040.
  • Revision of the Work-Life Balance Directive and the Maternity Leave Directive
  • Adequate funding for the European Child Guarantee 
  • New, comprehensive Migration Code, providing for visa opportunities for family reunification
  • Votes from 16 for all elections in Europe

Reform Ideas

  • Fully implement the European Child Guarantee.
  • Lower the voting age to 16 in the European elections.
  • Building on the European Youth Guarantee and strive for full youth employment.
  • Adoption of a Directive on Quality Traineeships in the EU

Reform ideas

EU Youth Test

Reform Ideas

Increase funding for the Erasmus+ programme dedicated to young people in apprenticeships or vocational training

Aspirational Statements

3 out of 5

Employment and work rights

“We are fully committed to promoting gender equality by ensuring everyone has equal access to education and employment opportunities in key sectors.

  • Ensure equal pay for men and women.
  • Consider equality as a factor of competitiveness by allowing the integration of all available talent into the productive system. 
  • Fight harassment in the workplace and advance gender equality constantly and relentlessly in all aspects of life.”

“We are also firmly convinced that we must increase the representation of girls and women in scientific studies and careers. We will develop mentoring and awareness-raising programmes and build real professional networks”.

Gender-based violence

“We must also eradicate gender-based violence, which remains a major problem in Europe.”

  • Eradicate all forms of violence against women and children and gender-based violence.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

  • Guarantee sexual and reproductive rights throughout the European Union.

Reform ideas


Total: 3 out of 10 (Red)

Reform Ideas

  • Create a European Fund for public services (education)
  • EU directive against social inequalities and discrimination in education
  • Right to vote from 16 years of age

Reform Ideas

  • Action plan against child abuse
  • Europe-wide parental leave
  • Youth and elderly proof check

Reform Ideas

EU Directive against cyberbullying

No mention of Childrens’ Rights

No Manifesto


We ranked the manifestos according to two criteria:

  • the aspirational statements representing the mentions made by each party regarding one of the 5 themes individuated; and 
  • the ideas for reform therein. 

The 5 themes underpinning the aspirational statements are:

  • For Every Child Rights
  • Better care for children & support for parents
  • Eradicate child poverty
  • Education and Investment in education
  • Making your voice heard / EU Governance for children

The mention of any one of these categories is worth 1 point. 

We then awarded points from 0 to 5 according to the qualitative basis of their “reform ideas”. 

The sum of the quantitative and qualitative points provides a score out of 10 for each party.  To correspond to the number of points, we established a colour scheme for the final results: 

From 0 to 4: red From 5 to 7: orange From 8 to 10: green