Human dignity expresses the intrinsic value of every human being. It is inviolable and must be respected and protected, as is stated in Article 1 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. We believe this universal principle rests on the human being as created in the image and likeness of God.
Life is God-given and should be protected from conception to natural death. ECPM believes that a vibrant and positive Europe should celebrate and promote life. Because of the subsidiarity principle ECPM believes that the European Institutions should not interfere in bio-ethical issues and the definition of life. Sadly enough, the European Institutions often promote and fund an anti-life view. ECPM calls for a more modest and objective stance on this issue. Human dignity is the basis of human rights. ECPM believes that both European Institutions and member states should always uphold the principle of human dignity, from conception until natural death.
Rights of children
The rights of the child are set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 24/2) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (UN 1989) (Article 3). ECPM supports the principle that ‘the best interests of the child’ should be the primary consideration in all action related to children taken by public authorities both at the European and the national level.
Rights of children already start at conception. Unborn children should be included in the right to live. We therefore support all kinds of coaching and support for expectant mothers.
Children are particularly vulnerable to social exclusion, violence and abuse. However, ECPM stresses that sustainable policies in favour of the family are the most effective way to improve children's living conditions and opportunities. Parents have a natural interest in protecting the rights of their children. EU law and national legislation must guarantee balanced rights for both.
Freedom of education
ECPM observes that the EU has tried to interfere extensively in the school programs by indicating a specific form of education. We are convinced that parents should have freedom to choose which values and beliefs they want to pass onto their children. It is not a competence of the European Union to decide over such topics. This is a case for the member states themselves to decide upon.
Education is very important for children to get a good future. ECPM therefore supports education that strives to get the best out of children. We call upon governments to take care of community schools, to invest and support in them so that children can go to school close to their homes. In certain circumstances, home schooling can be a good alternative.
Thanks to better healthcare our society is ageing. Many elderly people face difficulties in that, especially loneliness. ECPM sees these problems and wants to address them. We stand for ageing with dignity. Our elderly people should be treated with respect and gratitude and our societies should cherish them and care for them. We believe that informal and customized care should be prioritized. Especially people taking care of their neighbours or family members should get financial support for their work.
When the end of life is near, ECPM believes that palliative care should be supported. Ending life when it is ‘not worthy to live’ is not an option to us, as life is given and created by God. We believe that with a social network, customized care, life-coaches for mental health and palliative care, life can be dignified till the end.
ECPM believes that every life matters, even if it is not viewed as perfect. People with disabilities are fully part of our societies, no matter if they are physically or mentally disabled. We urge countries to support people with disabilities, both financially and judicially.
Child sexual exploitation online
ECPM is concerned about child sexual exploitation online which constitutes a serious violation of children's fundamental rights. The definition of child sexual abuse materials should be clarified in the international contexts. Children need to be informed in an easy and child-friendly way of the risks and consequences of using their personal data and images online. Their personal data online must be duly protected. For all these purposes, child protection officers, paediatricians and youth and children’s organizations must play an active role in raising awareness on this issue and already existing EU legislation (Directive 2011/92) on this subject should be rigorously enforced.
We do firmly believe that the EU member states should cooperate on supporting child protection systems where the child’s best interests should be considered, regardless of their status. The care that refugee minors receive in the reception cares is key factor in their long-term adjustment and should be regulated at the national level. ECPM suggests that the action at European level should be complementary to the member states’ measures.