Close to two-thirds of under-18 asylum seekers in Bulgaria in 2018 were unaccompanied minors
Fifty-seven per cent of the asylum seekers in Bulgaria in 2018 aged younger than 18 were unaccompanied minors, European Union statistics agency Eurostat said.
This was the second-highest in the EU, after Slovenia, where the figure was 70 per cent.
In 2018, 19 700 asylum seekers applying for international protection in the member states of the EU were considered to be unaccompanied minors.
This is down by more than one third compared with 2017 (31 400) and below the 2014 level (23 100), when the first increase was observed after remaining at a relatively constant level of around 12 000 per year between 2008 and 2013, Eurostat said.
In 2018, at the EU level, unaccompanied minors accounted for 10 per cent of all asylum applicants aged less than 18. In 2018, a majority of unaccompanied minors were males (86 per cent). Three quarters were aged 16 to 17 (14 800 people), while those aged 14 to 15 accounted for 17 per cent (3400 people) and those aged less than 14 for 7 per cent (1400 people).
Over half of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors in the EU in 2018 were the citizens of six countries: Afghanistan (16 per cent), Eritrea (10 per cent), Pakistan or Syria (both seven per cent) and Guinea or Iraq (both six per cent), Eurostat said.
(Archive photo: Ben Melrose/V Photo Agency)