Last night in Strasbourg it seems the European Parliament decided to face both ways. My understanding is they voted to establish 16 as the new baseline age for the whole of the EU but with an option for individual Member States to have 13. I gather if a Member State wants to go for 13 it will need to legislate.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out. My guess is many will stick with the default. The pressure to adopt a more conservative line will be strong but if any countries do show an interest in adopting 13 they should be challenged to provide some concrete evidence in support of their decision. I say that not because I wish to discourage them from going for 13 but because I truly believe we need to steer a course towards more rational, evidence led discussions on this subject.
There was more time than we thought
My spies showed me a copy of an email from a well known Brussels-based lobbying group. It was dated 1st December and it told its members that in a text adopted within the Trialogue on 27th November the age of 16 as a new baseline had been agreed.
So that’s a full two weeks before the Brussels conference Madame Jourova addressed on 10th December and it was surely sufficient time for at least some sort of conversation to have taken place with children’s organizations. Why did that not happen?