Thousands of children disappear annually in Europe. An EU-wide alert system is designed to simplify the search. But it is controversial.

The appearance of Gerry and Kate McCann in April before the EU Parliament in Brussels was not without effect. The parents of Madeleine who disappeared in the summer of 2007 from a Portuguese resort asked the MPs to work for an EU-wide alarm system. With success: A large majority of the people's representatives showed their support. The model provides that police, border surveillance and media in all EU member states are immediately informed whenever a child is reported missing. The Member States should decide until December whether they want the system or not.

Federal Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries (SPD) has already objected. It does not help the police investigation, if for example missing ads regarding a kidnapped child in southern Italy are run in Danish media, she argued. "Not every missing child has to be searched for across Europe," said the minister. Actually in Germany 98% of the annual 70 000 child reported missing were found again within a few days. "Most cases are runaways," says Lars Bruhns.

This is not the only reason why the Chief Executive of the Missing Children Organization, which belongs also to the European umbrella organisation Missing Children Europe, is critical of an EU-wide alarm system: "I see big problems with the technical implementation. Therefore first and foremost the implementation of the EU emergency number in all Countries has to be stepped up."

Bruhns thus hits a sore point. Because the 2006 in Brussels decided, uniform hotline 11 60 00 has so far been established in only five countries. The EU Commission now urges now all countries to establish the number. Also Germany is not yet running this Children's emergency (hotline). Instead there is since 2006 their own "Amber" alarm system . Whoever wants to can register and receive SMS and MMS information on missing persons cases. The alarm is triggered only when the authorities assume that the missing child is in danger.


Original article: (German)
Discussion at The 3 Arguidos here
If leaving your children at home unsupervised is fraught with difficulty, can we ever risk leaving them asleep with the monitor on in a foreign hotel? The memory of Madeleine McCann will remain with parents of young children for decades, says Rhodes.
“People are much more nervous on holiday now - but in Britain we value our time away from our babies, so we live with monitors. It is highly unlikely that anyone would break into a hotel room, and if your child is a light sleeper and you can get back to her in minutes you might take that risk,” she says. “But if you don't take her, you may spend all of dinner worrying.”
Discussion at The 3 Arguidos here