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European Child Guarantee

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European Commission
Publication Date: 
1 Jan 2023

Retrieved 18 July 2023


In 2019 Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced in her Political Guidelines the creation of a European Child Guarantee with a view to ensuring that every child in Europe at risk of poverty or social exclusion has access to the most basic of rights like healthcare and education.

On 24 March 2021, after consultations with key stakeholders including children themselves, European Commission adopted a proposal for Council Recommendation establishing a European Child Guarantee, along with the supporting Staff Working Document. The Council adopted the proposed Recommendation on 14 June 2021.

The objective of the European Child Guarantee is to prevent and combat social exclusion by guaranteeing effective access of children in need to a set of key services:

  • free early childhood education and care
  • free education (including school-based activities and at least one healthy meal each school day)
  • free healthcare
  • healthy nutrition, and
  • adequate housing

While most children in the EU already have access to these services, inclusive and truly universal access is vital for ensuring equal opportunities for all children, and in particular those who experience social exclusion due to poverty or other forms of a disadvantage.

In order to implement the Recommendation, the Member States have nominated their Child Guarantee Coordinators and are preparing national action plans, covering the period until 2030.

Member States with a level of child poverty above the EU average (23,4% - AROPE 2017 – 2019) should allocate at least 5% of their European Social Fund (ESF+) resources to tackle child poverty.

On the other hand, all the other Member States are required to allocate an appropriate amount of their ESF+ resources to combat child poverty.


On the request of the European Parliament, which called for a child guarantee that would help ensure that every child in Europe at risk of poverty or social exclusion has access to free healthcare, education, early childhood education and care, decent housing and adequate nutrition the European Commission designed a three-phase Preparatory Action to analyse the feasibility, financing, and implementation of such a scheme in the EU.


The main purpose of the national action plans is to describe the existing and planned national and subnational policy measures, which aim to improve access of children in need to the set of key services covered by the European Child Guarantee.