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2750 asylum-seekers in Bulgaria in 2016 were unaccompanied minors - Eurostat

2750 asylum-seekers in Bulgaria in 2016 were unaccompanied minors - Eurostat
The number of unaccompanied minors among asylum-seekers in Bulgaria in 2016 was 2750, European Union statistics agency Eurostat said.

This was an increase from 1815 unaccompanied minors who sought asylum in Bulgaria in 2015, the statistics agency said.

In 2016, 95 per cent of the unaccompanied minors who sought asylum in Bulgaria were male. Seventeen per cent were younger than 14.

A total of 2040 (74 per cent) of the unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in Bulgaria in 2016 were from Afghanistan. The next-largest group was from Iraq, 370 (13 per cent), and in third place, from Pakistan, 185 (seven per cent), Eurostat said.

In 2016, 63 300 asylum-seekers applying for international protection in EU countries were considered to be unaccompanied minors, a number down by about a third compared with 2015 (with almost 96 500 unaccompanied minors registered) but still about five times higher than the annual average during the period 2008-2013 (about 12 000 per year).

In 2016, a substantial majority of unaccompanied minors in the EU were males (89 per cent) and over two-thirds were aged 16 to 17 (68 per cent, or about 43 300 people), while those aged 14 to 15 accounted for 21 per cent (around 13 500 people) and those aged less than 14 for 10 per cent (almost 6300 people).

More than a third (38 per cent) of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors in the EU in 2016 were Afghans and about a fifth (19 per cent) Syrians.

In 2016, the highest number of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors was registered in Germany (with almost 36 000 unaccompanied minors, or 57 per cent of all those registered in the EU member states), followed by Italy (6000, or 10 per cent), Austria (3900, or six per cent), the United Kingdom (3200, or five per cent), Bulgaria (2750, or four per cent), Greece (2 350, or four per cent) and Sweden (2200, or three per cent).

Among EU countries with more than 1000 asylum seekers considered to be unaccompanied minors in 2016, numbers rose most compared with the previous year in Greece (over 1900 more unaccompanied minors in 2016 than in 2015, or +460 per cent), Germany (13 700 more, or +61 per cent), Bulgaria (935 more, or +51 per cent) and Italy (1 950 more, or +48 per cent).

In contrast, the largest decreases were recorded in Sweden (with over 33 000 fewer unaccompanied minors in 2016 than in 2015, or -94 per cent), Hungary (7 600 fewer, or -86 per cent), Belgium (1 800 fewer, or -64 per cent), the Netherlands (2 150 fewer, or -56 per cent) and Austria (4 400 fewer, or -53 per cent).

The largest shares of unaccompanied minors among all young asylum applicants in 2016 were recorded notably in Slovenia (where 57 per cent of all asylum applicants aged less than 18 were unaccompanied in 2016), Italy (54 per cent) and Denmark (49 per cent), followed by Bulgaria (42 per cent), Croatia (36 per cent), the United Kingdom (34 per cent), Cyprus (32 per cent) and the Netherlands (27 per cent).

In total in the EU, unaccompanied minors accounted for 16 per cent of all asylum applicants aged less than 18 in 2016./IBNA

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