28 December 2006

EU - Now on track: the single EU hotline number for missing children

A committee of Member State representatives has endorsed the Commission's initiative to reserve throughout the EU common freephone numbers for services of social value. This means in particular that the 116000 number will be made available for hotlines for missing children. Member States are asked to make this major initiative for children's rights a reality as soon as possible. Hotline telephone numbers for parents to report missing children already exist in several EU countries, but they currently use different telephone numbers in different countries. Having a common hotline number, 116000, will greatly help parents if they lose their child while travelling or on holiday in another European country. The Commission's draft Decision to reserve numbers beginning with 116 for harmonised services of social value in Europe has been endorsed by the Communications Committee, an expert group of Member States' representatives. Approval by this committee paves the way for the Commission to adopt this Decision, which will be binding on Member States, in early 2007. A public call will be launched early next year to identify other services that may benefit from 116 numbers.