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Missing children - 116 hotline

The 116 000 hotline has been designed to report missing children and provide social support services for children and families when a child goes missing.

A strong commitment to missing children

EU countries, national regulators, telecom operators and organisations wishing to provide this service must each make a strong commitment to ensure the number 116 000 is operational . In February 2007, the Commission adopted a Decision requiring EU countries to reserve the six-digit number range starting with 116 for services of social value in the EU. 116 000 was the first telephone number reserved in all EU countries as a hotline to report missing children.

The revised Universal Service Directive, adopted in 2009, introduced new obligations for the EU countries concerning the 116 000 hotline. It adds a specific obligation for the EU countries to "make every effort to ensure that citizens have access to the 116 000 hotline service". The deadline for implementing these obligations expired on 25 May 2011.

In November 2010 the Commission adopted a Communication 'Dial 116 000: The European hotline for missing children'. Its objective is:

  • to renew the call on the EU countries to implement the missing children hotline as a matter of priority;
  • to ensure the same high quality of service throughout the EU.

State of play

The 116 000 hotline is operational in 27 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus,  the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg,  Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Two key issues appear to be delaying the implementation of the missing children hotline in every EU country:

  • the lack of information ;
  • the cost of both running the hotline and calling the hotline.

The Commission provides practical support to the EU countries that have not yet implemented the hotline by:

Other information

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