Every year thousands of unaccompanied minors from non-EU countries travel to Europe. Some have fled from wars, conflicts or other difficult and dramatic living conditions, sometimes experiencing the loss of family along the way; others expect a better life or want to access education, welfare or medical attention.
The arrival of unaccompanied minors is a long-term feature of migratory flows. In 2011, there were 12,225 asylum applications by unaccompanied minors across the EU27 – a number comparable to previous years. What is more, unaccompanied child migration goes beyond what the sole asylum application numbers indicate as only limited information on other types of flows, such as minors who migrated irregularly or were trafficked, is available.
In 2010 the EU adopted an Action Plan that helped bringing into focus the issue of unaccompanied minors who arrive to Europe: each decision affecting a minor's future must be taken with the best interests of the child at heart, regardless of his migratory status.
The Commission has adopted today a mid-term report on the implementation of the Action Plan (2010-2014). The report takes stock of the progress made and identifies the areas which require more attention and targeted action during the next two years.