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Spain to push EU to speed up adoptions from Haiti

Sat 23rd Jan 2010

The Spanish European Union presidency will urge the 27-nation bloc to speed up adoptions of Haitian children that are already being processed, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said Friday.

European consulates in Haiti could help in the process, Vega said, explaining that Spain would make the proposal at an EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday.

Meanwhile in the Spanish city of Toledo, European Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot said the EU would seek a common 'framework' on adoptions, in cooperation with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

EU justice ministers meeting in Toledo agreed to cooperate closely with each other and with UNICEF to protect Haitian children after the January 12 earthquake.

The Netherlands, Spain and the United States have said they are planning to accelerate those adoptions which had been decided on before the disaster.

UNICEF has reported the abduction of at least 15 unaccompanied children from Haitian hospitals, according to EU sources.

The Spanish EU presidency will also push for international assistance and protection measures for orphaned or unaccompanied minors, Vega said.

EU countries could make use of their cooperation programmes jointly with UNICEF and the Red Cross, she explained. Spain also wanted to boost cooperation between aid agencies working in the Caribbean country, Vega said.

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