«The abduction follows suggestions that a campaign by the parents of four-year-old missing girl Madeleine McCann may bear fruit.
Kate and Gerry McCann have campaigned for a UK and mainland European system to track children who have been abducted.»
TheHerald.co.uk, 7 July 2009
Again the British newspapers keep perpetuating the myth - the McCanns did not have the idea nor did they campaign for the EU Wide Child Alert System, at best they opportunistically obfuscated the real protagonists of the EU Child Alert System: Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini, who was the among the first ones promoting this project, along with Ludmilla Putin, Margarida Sousa Uva Barroso - link to an article of 2005, Laura Bush, and a few European Union MEP's.
In fact the European Commission report 'Towards an EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child' date is of 4.7.2006. where the strategies to be followed by the EU Member States were explained, in particular:
To attribute one single six digit telephone number (116xyz) within the EU for child helplines and one for child hotlines dedicated to missing and sexually exploited children (end 2006)
The Guidelines the European Commission proposed on an EU-wide child abduction/disappearance alert mechanism were accepted as a basis for discussion by representatives of the police and/or judicial authorities from all the Member States. Based on these initial talks, Justice and Home Affairs Ministers agreed in Lisbon in October 2007 to set up a flexible EU-wide alert system for abducted children which would involve media campaigns. How this system is set up and the extent of its reach depends entirely on the Member States.
sources : http://ec.europa.eu/ - EU documentation on Children and http://eur-lex.europa.eu/ - on the 116 number and http://eur-lex.europa.eu - Comission report
More : Portuguese Child Alert System in Action - June 29, 2009
Minor update at 23:15, July 7 09
The same story is now on The Times online , with tomorrows date.
A bit different their approach to the EU wide child alert system account (could they have learned a lesson?) :
«Campaigners in Europe have been lobbying governments to set-up an all-ports alert system similar to the Amber Alert system in the United States, which would notify air and shipping ports across the continent when a child was reported missing.
Experts say that such a system could have aided in the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and might also have alerted police to the actions of Robert Williams, the Scottish lorry driver who was jailed last month for abducting and having sex with a girl aged 15 before taking her to France. »