Spanish MEP, Marina Albiol, addressed Commissioner Avramopoulos and other MEPs: “It seems that you are all very concerned about migrant children, but you are not thinking about these children when walls are being built, when refugees' visas are being refused, when detention centres are being set up, and when contracts are being signed with Turkey and Libya.”

“Everything that is happening now is the future of the policies that you are not questioning. One of the consequences of these policies is the situation in Melilla where hundreds of minors are currently stuck. Some of them are being detained in centres and others are just on the streets, instead of being at school.

“The Spanish government is not coming up with anything that could solve the problem apart from concluding an agreement with Morocco to deport the children. That is not going to solve anything. All that achieves is putting the problem elsewhere.”

Basque MEP, Josu Juaristi, also addressed the Commissioner: “It is Europe's duty to protect these children and we are failing. Refugee children are the most vulnerable and many of them are being treated violently in Europe. The fact that we haven't done anything about it is shameful.”

“Minors are suffering from physical and sexual exploitation and falling into the hands of mafia and traffickers, especially in Hungary and Bulgaria. They are also suffering at the hands of the police and military.

“There are centres in Europe for these children, but many of them prefer to stay in the streets because they are scared of being deported.  

“We must not forget that many of their families have sold everything they own to enable these children to travel and that puts a huge amount of psychological pressure on them.

“We need a common identification and tracking system for these minors,” Juaristi concluded.


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Nikki Sullings  +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75

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