EU asylum seekers up 50% 2013-2014 - update

13,000 unaccompanied minors arrived from Libya in 2014

(ANSA) - Brussels, May 12 - The EU granted asylum to 185,000 migrants in 2014, 50% more than in 2013, Eurostat said Tuesday.
    Around two thirds of the claims were granted by four countries: Germany (47,600, +82% on 2013); Sweden (33,000, +25%); France (20,600, +27%) and Italy (20,600, +42%).
    The European Commission is to formalise its new plan Wednesday to revamp migrant controls and processes for asylum seekers. The document states that a first screening will take place to identify immediately humanitarian versus economic refugees at centres where migrants are held upon entering EU borders. Frontex, Europol and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and healthcare facilities will be involved in the selection process. Frontex will be in charge of creating a system for the rapid repatriation of migrants who flee to Europe for economic motives.
    UNICEF on Tuesday called for the rights of migrant children to be the focus of new European immigration policy.
    Deaths of migrants crossing the Mediterranean number 50 times higher so far this year compared to the same period last year, UNICEF said. The ranks of children attempting the perilous voyage are bound to grow as the warm season and calmer seas tempt traffickers and their victims. UNICEF said risks for children are particularly high not only on the sea, but also after they arrive on European coasts, where they may fail to receive medical or other attention to urgent needs - particularly children travelling unaccompanied by an adult.
    Out of 170,000 immigrants that arrived on European shores coming from the Libyan coast last year, 13,000 were unaccompanied minors.
    New reports suggest that smugglers and traffickers of children are exploiting an already desperate situation, making money on children seeking asylum and pushing their parents to pay ransom to be reunited with their children.
   

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