Young Syrian refugees at the Fiumcino Airport in Rome Credit: ANSA/Telenews
Young Syrian refugees at the Fiumcino Airport in Rome Credit: ANSA/Telenews

A total of 31,400 unaccompanied child migrants made asylum requests in the European Union in 2017. About one in three of them, approximately 10,000 (32%), applied for asylum in Italy, where the number of unaccompanied child migrants has risen 66% since 2016, up 4000.

 In Italy, 65% of asylum seekers under 18 years old were unaccompanied, the highest rate of EU countries. Italy is followed by Germany, with 9,100 unaccompanied child migrants, 29% of the EU total, according to Eurostat. 

Arrivals down 77% compared to 2017

 As of May 6 this year, 9,567 migrants have arrived through the Central Mediterranean route, about 77% less than the same period in 2017, according to an updated European Commission report on the enactment of migration policies. The report said, however, that migrant flows from Turkey to Greece are on the rise.

 In the first 18 weeks of this year through May 6, it said 9,349 migrants arrived on the Greek islands, compared to 5,582 in the same period in 2017. Lesbos had the majority of arrivals, at 58%, followed by Samos. Through May 6 of this year, 19 people have died or gone missing in the Aegean Sea, a downward trend compared to 2017. Despite the situation, EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the agreement with Turkey "is still working". "There was a slight increase, but the situation is under control and for now is manageable," he said. "I'm in contact with the Greek and Turkish ministers, and I encouraged them to continue to cooperate," he said. 

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