The European Union countries have agreed to cooperate more closely in the hunt for missing children but have not signed up to a Europe-wide alert system.
Germany said alerting all 27 EU states when a child disappears would be pointless, since most are found quickly, in the area where they went missing.
EU justice ministers meeting in the French city of Cannes decided to set up national police centres to coordinate any international search when necessary.
Council chair Rachida Dati said:
“The attraction of the European jucidial space is to demonstrate to other European countries that do not have an abduction response or protection for these children can be inspired, and others that do have a reaction system to reinforce them. Even France, which has this system, can modify, complement it, improve it.”
The parents of the missing Madeleine McCann said in April that a swift EU-wide alert system could have helped locate their daughter.
EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot urged the ministers to go further, saying that missing children were being found more quickly in European countries where a solid alert system is in place, like France and Greece.