There are now 5.4 million child migrants currently in Europe, the United Nations agency UNICEF reports.
They also report that 31% of refugees who made the sea crossing to the EU were children.
These are numbers which the interior Minister Michael Farrugia quoted during his address to the Annual Conference of the European Migration Network.
The conference entitled ‘Inclusion and Empowerment of Migrant Students,’ was organised in tandem with the Ministry for Education and Employment, would look at how to address child migrants arriving and living in Europe from the national and European levels.
He explained that increased migration can lead to, ‘increased pressure on our asylum and educational systems,’ therefore there would need to be closer cooperation between different organisations that work closely with child migrants.
‘Child protection has become one of the main priorities in the European Agenda on Migration.’ These children ‘arriving by irregular means should be provided with child-adequate treatment upon arrival. The same applies to the identification process and the processing of their asylum applications. At the same time, these children should also be provided with sustainable long-term support through better access to education and health care.’