11th March 2023

Cross-Border Adoptions

Zagreb, Croatia

Hotel Esplanade
Ul. Antuna Mihanovića 1, 10000, Zagreb


Every child deserves to grow up in a happy family, and so adoption is important to ensure that right is extended to all children. However, the current system of cross border adoption is far from perfect. A recent case of cross-border adoption, where eight Croatian nationals were detained in Zambia after arriving to collect adopted children from the Democratic Republic of Congo, has opened many questions: How can parents be sure that children put up for adoption have done so legally? Does the current regulatory framework do enough to protect children? And what can European authorities do to support parents who want to adopt legally? In some EU Member States legal protection related to intercountry adoptions is lacking, whilst in others it is simply not implemented effective supervision.

If the right to a family life is at the centre of European values, then its time for Europe to act on adoption policy.


10:00 – 10:15

Opening of the conference & introductory word

  • Ladislav Ilčić, MEP, Member of New Direction

10:15 – 12:00

Panel discussion

Cross-border adoptions in the Interest of the Child

  • Vesna Vučemilović, MP - Croatian parliament
  • Brian S. Brown, President of the Organization for the Family (IOF) (USA)
  • Dubravka Hrabar, Faculty of Law University of Zagreb
  • Vincenzo Sofo, MEP and Member of New Direction - video message
  • Margarita de la Pisa Carrión, MEP and Member of New Direction

12:00 – 12:30

Coffee break & Press conference for media

12:30 – 13:45

Panel discussion

Legal Framework for Safe and Transparent Cross-border Adoptions in the EU

  • Ivana Žebec Šilj, Association for support of adoptive parents and foster parents “Josipove obitelji”
  • Georgia du Plessis, Legal officer at ADF International representative
  • Ivan Zvonimir Čičak, President of Croatian Helsinki Committee
  • Martina Hesse, ECR policy maker

13:45 – 14:00

Final word & closing of the conference

  • Ladislav Ilčić, MEP, Member of New Direction