On the 11th and 12th of September, the AMBER Alert Europe Foundation embarked on a productive working visit to Spain. The visit was fueled by the longstanding history and active cooperation with the Spanish Ministry of Interior, especially in light of the ambitious agenda set forth by the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council, which has prioritized addressing issues related to missing persons at the EU’s political forefront in Brussels.
The roots of our cooperation trace back to when the Spanish National Police joined AMBER Alert Europe, marking the commencement of a journey of collaborative endeavors. Over time, this alliance has burgeoned, leading to enhanced mechanisms to address the issue of missing persons and children in Spain and across Europe.
During the visit, AMBER Alert Europe’s Chairman and EU Affairs Coordinator engaged in multiple insightful discussions at the Spanish Ministry of Interior. The dialogue spanned various departments including the Directorate General for International Police Cooperation, the Spanish National Centre on Missing Persons (CNDES), and the Spanish National Police Special Group on Missing Persons. The primary focal points of these discussions encompassed the enduring challenges faced in the domain of missing persons across the European Union. The dialogue also emphasized the necessity for adept tools enabling law enforcement to swiftly act in locating missing children at immediate risk, particularly in non-criminal cases. The importance of effective risk assessment in missing children cases, and the merits of a unified European approach towards missing children and missing persons, were also underlined.
In addition to the official meetings at the Ministry of Interior, the AMBER Alert Europe delegation also connected with notable Spanish civil society organizations. Among them were our longstanding Spanish partner, Fundación Anar, boasting over 50 years of impactful work in Spain, and Plataforma de Infancia, a dynamic children’s rights organization that unites over 70 civil society organizations in Spain dedicated to the advancement of children’s rights both locally and internationally.
A key highlight of the visit was the understanding of the pivotal role played by the National Centre on Missing Persons (CNDES) of Spain. CNDES has been at the forefront of addressing missing persons and missing children-related issues. Their recent participation in AMBER Alert Europe’s prevention campaign on missing children and the coordination of the Spanish AMBER Alert for missing children underscore their significant contributions. The efforts of CNDES, encapsulated in the 2022-2024 Strategic Plan on Missing Persons, serve as a robust model for the envisioned European approach towards handling missing persons’ issues.
One striking example of the cooperative efforts is the initiative of missing person appeals on ATMs which led to several successful recoveries in Spain. This initiative demonstrates the innovative and collaborative approaches being adopted to tackle the challenges related to missing persons.
AMBER Alert Europe is committed to nurturing this blossoming relationship with the Spanish authorities and the civil society organizations. The mutual goal is to foster even closer cooperation in the near future on matters of shared interest, ensuring a safer and more responsive environment for addressing the pressing issue of missing persons across Europe.