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The book Children and the European Union: Rights, Welfare and Accountability by Helen Stalford brings together a range of material in the fields of children’s rights and European law, and provides a comprehensive and insightful analysis of the constitutional, cultural, social, ideological and political questions that underpin children’s rights in the EU. It is a timely account of the legal and policy framework pertaining to children’s rights following the recent constitutional and policy changes in the EU, in particular a more direct reference to children’s rights in the Lisbon Treaty and the launch of the "EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child" by the European Commission in 2011. The book draws on several disciplinary perspectives, including the sociology of childhood and human rights discourse, and covers a range of substantive areas such as family law, education, immigration and child protection. In her work, Stalford persuasively argues that there has been good progress in relation to the role of the EU in developing and safeguarding children’s rights. This assertion is well supported through examples of legal and policy measures aimed specifically at children at EU level, as well as through evidence of the increased awareness of the importance of the EU’s involvement in the area of children’s rights more generally. The author, however, rightly recognises that there are still some drawbacks that ultimately prevent a more effective system of children’s rights at EU level. These include specifically problems regarding the conceptualisation of children’s rights by the EU; the lack of clarity on the part of the EU as to its role in relation to children’s rights; and the "institutional, procedural and political ‘blockages’ within the EU" (p.227). The arguments are well developed and represent an accurate assessment of the current status quo of the EU children’s rights agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-459
Number of pages2
JournalEuropean Law Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • European Union
  • Family Law
  • Social Welfare


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