1815 asylum applicants in Bulgaria in 2015 were unaccompanied minors
A total of 1815 of the asylum applicants in Bulgaria in 2015 were unaccompanied minors, according to figures announced by EU statistics office Eurostat on May 2 2016.
Of these, 94 per cent were males and 14 per cent below the age of 14, Eurostat said.
Unaccompanied minors made up just more than a third of all asylum applicants below the age of 18 in Bulgaria last year.
Just more than half, 940, of the unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in Bulgaria were from Afghanistan. The second-largest group, 530 (about 29 per cent) were from Iraq and the third-largest group, 285 (about 16 per cent) were from Syria, Eurostat said.
The largest shares of unaccompanied minors among all young asylum applicants in the EU in 2015 were recorded notably in Italy (where 56.6 per cent of all asylum applicants aged less than 18 were unaccompanied in 2015) and Sweden (50.1 per cent), followed by the United Kingdom (38.5 per cent), the Netherlands (36.5 per cent), Denmark (33.7 per cent), Finland (33.2 per cent) and Bulgaria (33.1 per cent).
In total in the EU, unaccompanied minors accounted for almost a quarter (23 per cent) of all asylum applicants aged less than 18 in 2015.
In 2015, 88 300 asylum seekers applying for international protection in the member states of the European Union (EU) were considered to be unaccompanied minors, Eurostat said.
While their number always stood between 11 000 and 13 000 in the EU over the period 2008-2013, it almost doubled in 2014 to reach slightly more than 23 000 people, then nearly quadrupled in 2015.
In 2015, a substantial majority of unaccompanied minors were males (91 per cent) and more than half were aged 16 to 17 (57 per cent, or 50 500 people), while those aged 14 to 15 accounted for 29 per cent (25 800 people) and those aged less than 14 for 13 per cent (11 800 about).
About half (51 per cent) of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors in the EU in 2015 were Afghans, Eurostat said.
In 2015, the highest number of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors was registered in Sweden (with almost 35 300 unaccompanied minors, or 40 per cent of all those registered in the EU member states), followed by Germany (14 400, or 16 per cent), Hungary (8800, or 10 per cent) and Austria (8300, or nine per cent).
Together these four EU countries accounted for three-quarters of all asylum applicants considered unaccompanied minors registered in the EU in 2015.
(Photo: Ben Melrose/V Photo Agency)