Yesterday was a busy day on several fronts. Kate and I met with representatives of Missing Children Europe. This is an umbrella organisation that has 21 member non-governmental organisations that are involved in supporting families of missing and exploited children, from 15 EU countries. Missing Children Europe aims to share best practice, ensures a European presence at ICMEC and liases with various European Institutions. www.missingchildren.eu They have played a major role in securing the EU commission supporting a dedicated hotline for missing children: 116 000. The commission is also supportive of the introduction of a child alert system throughout the EU similar to the Amber alert system in the USA. However only a few countries run such a system and there is a lot of work to be done before the system is implemented in many countries, never mind an integrated throughout the EU.

The Portuguese justice minister also spoke to parliament yesterday regarding Mr Ribeiro?s comments about the haste with which we were made arguidos. As I stated at the time, no one can doubt how we have been scrutinised. We hope that, if as reported, the justice minister said the investigation is nearing a close that our arguido status will be lifted in the near future so that everyone can concentrate on searching for Madeleine. We will not give up looking for her until she is found and we hope that the police are similarly determined.

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