The European Commission has today outlined a number of proposed actions to reinforce the protection of migrant children entering the European Union. Figures from the European Commission show the number of child migrants entering the EU has increased sharply, with 95,000 children arriving in Europe by sea in 2016.In 2015 and 2016, 30 per cent of asylum applications in the EU were children.
Liberal and Democrat MEPs have long campaigned for greater action to protect child migrants, thousands of whom have gone missing since the start of the refugee crisis.
Nathalie Griesbeck MEP, ALDE Group Coordinator on the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee and Vice- Chair of the Parliament’s Intergroup on children’s rights said today;
“For the first time since the beginning of the refugee crisis, children are finally being put at the centre of the EU’s response – this is true progress. For too long, European leaders have closed their eyes to the vulnerability of child migrants and refugees. Children must be treated as children and offered our full protection, regardless of their backgrounds.”
“I welcome this communication, which provides a solid basis for further cooperation and includes many positive recommendations: an obligation to appoint a guardian for each unaccompanied minor, steps to avoid the detention of children and calls for a child protection officer to be designated to each hot spot. Children who live in unsafe and inadequate accommodation are more likely to run away and be exposed to even greater risks. Now it is up to the Member States and the Council to upgrade their actions and implement the Commission’s recommendations. “