In the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, children are more than a footnote
Eurochild co-signs the joint messages on the impact of the Pact on Migration and Asylum on children
Children have been consistently one of the largest groups of persons seeking for protection in Europe, and in 2019 they represented almost one third of the total number of first-time asylum applicants. Whilst in 2015 children were only contemplated in a footnote of the Agenda in Migration, the 2020 Pact on Migration and Asylum includes various welcome safeguards for (mainly unaccompanied) children. However, we still have serious concerns in relation to certain procedures proposed.
The EU reform should take the opportunity to introduce procedural safeguards for all children across all procedures in a consistent way, and to ensure that asylum systems in different member states meet the same high protection standards - this must be a top priority.
Children, their guardians and families should benefit from procedural information and legal advice ahead of transfer decisions, and transfer procedures themselves should ensure continuity and stability of assistance to the child.
While the Pact recognises that unaccompanied children should never be transferred without an assessment, its specific proposal to transfer unaccompanied children back to countries where they first lodged an application for international protection - unless it is not in their best interests - appears to set this safeguard aside, in deference to the concern to deter secondary movements.
Read the joint statement