While children are affected by all the legislation and policy that we adopt at European level, in the European Parliament (EP) there is no Parliamentary committee that has specific responsibility for children. The Intergroup on Children’s Rights represents the first formal body in the EP that will mainstream children’s rights and assess the impact of legislative and non-legislative work on children.
It is a cross-party, a cross-national group of committed MEPs, who will work together with child-focused organisations to keep children’s rights on top of the EU agenda. The aim of the Intergroup is to promote children’s rights and ensure that the best interest of the child is taken into account in EU internal and external action.
To do so, the Intergroup has nominated child rights focal points in each parliamentary committee, who alert the Intergroup on the files that have an impact on children. The Intergroup’s work is based on the Child Rights Manifesto prepared by a coalition of child-focused organisations working towards the realisation of the EU’s legal and policy commitments to promote and protect children’s rights, and obligations set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Bios of Co-Chairs

MEP Caterina Chinnici, S&D, Italy

Caterina Chinnici was born in Palermo. She graduated in law at 21 years old, becoming the youngest magistrate in Italy to be appointed as Chief Prosecutor of a Public Prosecutor´s office.

Over the course of her career as a judge, Caterina Chinnici served as Chief Public Prosecutor of the Juvenile Court of Palermo, as member of the Commission for international adoptions and member of the Central Body for the protection of unaccompanied children established by the Italian Minister of Interior.

In 2009, Caterina served as Councillor in charge of Family, Social Policies and Local Autonomy in the Government of the autonomous Region of Sicily. In 2012, she headed the Department for Juvenile Justice of the Italian Minister of Justice.

In May 2014, Caterina Chinnici was elected Member of the European Parliament and co-founded the Children’s Rights Intergroup, which  she has been co-chairing ever since its establishment in 2014.

During the 2014 – 2019 parliamentary term, Caterina Chinnici was the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Directive 800/2016 on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings, adopted on 9 March 2016. In addition, she was the Socialist and Democrats spokesperson on the Directive on combating terrorism and on the European Parliament Report on prisons and system conditions.

MEP David Lega, EPP, Sweden

David Lega is a Swedish politician and Member of the European Parliament since 2019. He serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the subcommittee on Human Rights.

David began his Paralympian swimming career when he was 12 years old. During the course of his career, he proceeded to win several World Championship gold medals and received the ’Triumph of the Human Spirit’ award in the Atlanta Paralympic Games 1996.

After retiring from swimming, he started a successful career as a public speaker and an entrepreneur.  He was awarded with”The Outstanding Young Person of the World” in 2004. Previous honorees include Orson Welles, John F. Kennedy and Elvis Presley.

According to David, he had “the fortune of being born at the exact right time and place” to live a good life. This feeling sparked his commitment to give back to society, and has become something of a red thread in his political career.

Upon being elected as a Member of the European Parliament, David pledged to be the voice of the people who have the most difficulties in being heard. He therefore use his platform in the European Parliament for this purpose and has participated in numerous events for improving children’s rights. Being co-chair of the Intergroup for Children’s Rights he intends to ensure that the child perspective is integrated into the legislative work and that all children’s voices are being heard.

MEP Hilde Vautmans, Renew Europe, Belgium

Hilde Vautmans is a Belgian Member of the European Parliament. She is member of the liberal-centrist Renew Europe Group, the successor to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and currently the third largest group in the European Parliament. Vautmans entered the European Parliament in January 2015 and was re-elected as Member of European Parliament during the May 2019 elections.

Vautmans is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) and the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (DACP). As a substitute, she is a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee (AGRI), the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) and the Delegation for relations with Japan (D-JP). Vautmans is also Chair of the MEP Horse Group, Chair of the MEP Group for Kidney Health, Co-Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights and Vice-President of the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup.
In the European Parliament, Hilde Vautmans is foreign affairs coordinator for the Renew Europe Group and acts as delegation leader of Open Vld, the Flemish liberal political party.

Vautmans started her political career at the office of, then Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, advising him in the fields of foreign and military affairs, external aid and equal opportunities. She was during two legislatures Member of the Belgian House of Representatives, while being the group leader of Open Vld for a while. She switched to being the secretary-general of Open Vld in the House of Representatives and from there on joined the EP.

She combines her office as MEP with being an alderwoman in the City of Sint-Truiden, responsible for education, youth, agriculture and tourism. She is the mother of two children, Amani and Sambo and partner of Sam.

MEP Saskia Bricmont, Greens/EFA, Belgium

A feminist, committed, passionate, well anchored in the reality of her region (Wallonia), guided by the ideals of equality and solidarity.

In 2007, Saskia started her first job as political advisor on European, international and development cooperation issues in the Federal Parliament for Green deputies. After an experience in the Cabinet of Minister Huytebroeck (Brussels Minister in charge of the environment and the fight against poverty), she became responsible for the Study Service of the belgian green party in 2009.

She also worked for the territorial development of Picardy Wallonia (Tournai region). In 2012, she got elected local councillor in Ath.

She finally became a MEP in 2019 where she put all her commitment to the service of the European project that she carries. She wants to act as a relay for all those who work daily for the climate, social justice, democracy and human rights.

She is member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Commission (LIBE) of the European Parliament, where she defends a project of open, altruistic and tolerant society. She does not support injustices, nor those who maintain fear and populist logics. She will always remind them that fundamental rights and freedoms are not negotiable. She is also a member of the International Trade Commission (INTA). She trusts that in a world that seems to be caught between Chinese state capitalism and Trump’s populist unilateralism, the EU must be the guarantor of an alternative in which the Sustainable Development Goals constitute the compass.

Finally, Saskia Bricmont is co-chairing the intergroup for Children Rights. She aims to put children at the top of the political agenda and to ensure to all the coming generations a brighter future.

Emilio Puccio, Intergroup Coordinator

Emilio Puccio is the Coordinator of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights, which is a cross-party and cross-national group comprising over 100 MEPs and 25 child-focused organizations, with the aim of mainstreaming children’s rights in all EU policies and legislation.

Emilio also sits in the advisory board of the Better Internet for Kids initiative (BIK)- supported by the European Commission – whose mission is to foster – through the BIK core service platform – the exchange of knowledge, expertise, resources and best practices between key online safety stakeholders, including industry representatives. Emilio is also a member of the Judging Panel for the 2020 GSMA Global Mobile Awards (GLOMOs) for the category Best Mobile Initiative for Enhancing Children’s Lives.

Before joining the Intergroup on Children’s Rights, Emilio worked on business and human rights issues in New York City at the United Nations Global Compact and as part of the Individuals at Risk Program at Amnesty International USA. As a qualified lawyer, Emilio served as Administrative & Legal Assistant for two years in the Italian General Consulate in Barcelona.

Emilio holds a Juris Doctor Magna cum laude in Law from the University of Palermo, a Master’s Degree in International Business Management from EADA Business School in Barcelona, and a Master in Diplomatic Studies from the Italian Society for International Organizations (SIOI) in Rome.