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MEPs debate Romanian adoptions

EITHNE DONNELLAN, Health Correspondent, in Strasbourg

Wed, Jan 19, 2011

SOME 9,950 children were “exported” from Romania between 1997 and 2000, the European Parliament was told yesterday, during a debate on whether more could be done to save children from a life of institutional care within the EU.

Romanian MEP Victor Bostinaru said his country, which “exported” so many children, would never again “accept such an abomination”. He said people had to learn from what happened as “opening the gates widely for international adoption” had meant for Romania child-trafficking networks, kidnappings and children being sold in western Europe.

His colleague MEP Elena Basescu said Romania was under pressure to resume international adoption, halted in 2001, but there were more families in Romania wishing to adopt than children available, despite about 22,000 children in care centres there.

Romanian legislation did not provide for the relinquishment of parents’ rights to their children unless there had been abuse, she added.

Roberta Angelilli, an Italian MEP who introduced the debate, said there were many abandoned children across Europe. They could end up in poverty or exploited by organised crime for prostitution, organ-trafficking and illegal adoption. These children had a right to be adopted and should not stay in an institution for longer than necessary.

Slovak MEP Monika Flašíková-Benová said the problem of abandoned children in Europe was getting more and more serious. “We have to abolish the rights of biological parents if they do not care for the children,” she said.

Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly said prospective adoptive parents whose bone fides were beyond reproach should be facilitated in giving a child a home and not be encumbered with lengthy processes. The parliament heard some families were paying up to €30,000 to begin the adoption process.

A resolution on the issue is due to be voted on today.

© 2011 The Irish Times 

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