EU actions on children in migration 47
As at 12 April 2017, 32.750 people had arrived by sea since 1 January 2017, of
whom 26% were children, 17% were women and 58% were men. Thirty percent
(30%) of those who arrived in Greece were children (as at 9 April 2017). Thirteen
percent (13%) of those arrived in Italy were children (as at 9 April 2017, 91%
percent of children arrived in Italy were unaccompanied).2
The majority of these unaccompanied children are boys; 13% are younger than
14 and a half are aged 16-17. In some cases, children entered the EU
unaccompanied by an adult and they travel to Europe to escape from war, conflict,
persecution, serious harm or extreme poverty. Often they travel to Europe with the
assistance of smugglers, sometimes having to work along the way to earn the
necessary money. Children risk, and will continue risking, their lives to get to
Europe by taking dangerous, sometimes fatal routes, most of the time crossing the
Aegean Sea by boat but also from Northern Africa to Italy. International
Organisation for Migration offer some statistics and they show that of 30%
recorded deaths in the Aegean Sea were children.3
More than 10,000 unaccompanied children were reported as missing in Europe
(in 2015) and nobody knows the whereabouts of these children, probably some
may have found their way to their destination and have been reunified with
families and friends; unfortunately, others may have become victims of human
In this regard, the EU has to face new challenges, we all know that in this
moment the organisation is passing a hard period, as we have seen the Greek
economic crisis or concerning the Brexit, these being just two of the regional major
Nowadays, this challenge is a premiere if we take into consideration the
massive impact of the migrants' wave assault on Europe, both in institutional and
In the last years, around thirty per cent of asylum applicants in the European
Union were children; having this respect there has been a six-fold increase in the
total number of child asylum applicants in the last six years.5
The EU has a moral duty as well as a legal responsibility for managing the
flood of migrants and refugees which is the largest movement of people Europe
has seen since the World War II.
3 Eurochild, “Turning the tide for children on the move”, p. 2, http://www.eurochild.
org/fileadmin/public/05_Library/Turning_the_tide_children_on_the_move.pdf. Accessed: 19.09.2017.
4 Bolborici Ana-Maria, 2016, “The immigration crisis – reflections concerning the crisis of
European identity”, Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov, Vol. 9 (58), No 1, Series VII:
Social Sciences · Law, p. 2.
5 European Commission, “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament
and the Council the Protection of children in migration”, Brussels, 12.4.2017, https://ec.europa.eu/
communication_on_the_protection_of_children_in_migration_en.pdf. Accessed: 14.09.2017.