On 11 March 2021, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): Jean-Paul Garraud, Julie Lechanteux, France Jamet, Nicolas Bay, Jean-François Jalkh, Virginie Joron, Herve Juvin, Joëlle Mélin and Gilbert Collard of the Identity and Democracy Group, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“According to the European Asylum Support Office, the number of asylum seekers in the European Union applying as unaccompanied minors increased by 1% in 2020 over the previous year, accounting for 4% of all applications.
This figure can be explained by the fact that many illegal immigrants who arrive with no identification documents claim to be minors in order to receive the international protection due to minors, which means they will not be forced to leave the territory.
The Migration and Asylum Pact lays down that migrant minors shall receive education for the two months following submission of their application for asylum.
1. Will the Commission state, for each year from 2012 to 2020, how many migrants who were deemed to be minors entered Europe?
2. Will it state how and by whom the education for the migrant minors for the two months following submission of their application for asylum will be financed?
3. Does the Commission have an estimate of the number of people who might enter the European Union as a result of the strengthening of the right to family reunification it plans to introduce with the Migration and Asylum Pact, which is currently under discussion?”
On 27 April 2021, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The number of migrants considered to be unaccompanied minors who applied for asylum in the EU over the period 2012-2020 is published by Eurostat. The 2017 Communication on the protection of children in migration encouraged Member States to improve data collection on children in migration, yet gaps in data collection persist, including data for unaccompanied children who do not apply for asylum.
The access of migrant children to education shall be financed by the Member State responsible for the asylum application. Costs related to the education of migrant children are eligible for funding under the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund.
The New Pact and accompanying proposals do not propose modifications of the Family Reunification Directive, which lays down the conditions under which unaccompanied minors obtaining international protection in the EU may be reunited with family members from outside of the EU. It is only proposed to extend the definition of ‘family members’ to include siblings in the context of reunification of family members who legally reside in the EU. This does not have substantial consequences for unaccompanied minors, as they already have the right to be reunited with siblings under Article 8 of Regulation 604/2013. The Commission is not in a position to provide an estimate of the number of persons who will fall under this provision in the future, but available data indicates that Article 8 of Regulation 604/2013 was applied in 344 cases in 2019.”
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