source: The Independent
published: 3 May 2016
Nearly 90,000 unaccompanied children sought asylum in Europe in 2015, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa to reach a place of safety.
According to the latest EU data, 13 per cent of the applicants were younger than 14, travelling without their parents to the EU.
Statistics agency Eurostat said the number of unaccompanied minors has quadrupled since 2014.
EU leaders disagree on how to handle Europe’s migration crisis, with anti-immigration sentiment growing even in countries that traditionally supported helping people seek refuge. A third of the 1.26 million first-time asylum applications filed in the EU last year were minors.
More than 90 per cent of the minors travelling without a parent or guardian were boys and over half of them were between 16 and 17 years old. Half of the total were Afghan minors, while the second largest group were Syrians, at 16 per cent of the total.