Unaccompanied minors roughly an eighth of asylum seekers in Greece

Unaccompanied minors made up 12.4 pct of asylum seekers in Greece in 2017, according to Eurostat figures released on Wednesday. Roughly 2,500 unaccompanied under-18s applied for asylum in the country during 2017, up 4 pct since 2016 and the third-highest number in the EU after Italy and Germany.

An overwhelming 94 pct of unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in Greece in 2017 were boys, while children under 14 accounted for 5 pct. The greatest number (48 pct) were from Pakistan, 21 pct from Afghanistan and 13 pct from Syria.

Throughout the EU, there were 31,395 asylum applications submitted by unaccompanied minors in 2017, accounting for 14.8 pct of the total. More than 10,000 applications by unaccompanied minors, or 32 pct of the EU total and 65 pct of all applications in that country, were submitted in Italy.

Germany came second with 9,100 (29 pct), Greece with 2,500 (8 pct), the United Kingdom with 2,200 (7 pct), Austria with 1,400 (4 pct), Sweden with 1,300 (4 pct) and the Netherlands with 1,200 (4 pct).

There was a sharp rise of asylum applications submitted by unaccompanied minors in Italy, which jumped 66 pct in a year, and a correspondingly sharp drop in Germany (-75 pct), Austria (-65 pct), Sweden (-40 pct) and in the UK and Netherlands (-31 pct), Eurostat reported.