Europe@School Episode 2: Unaccompanied Foreign Minors

, by Kimberley Mannion

Europe@School Episode 2: Unaccompanied Foreign Minors

JEF Europe and The New Federalist are proud to have our first podcast series, Europe@School, underway! Part of the wider Europe@School project, this important series aims to help educate young people on the European Union and what it can do for them.

The European institutions, diplomats and summits in Brussels can feel like an abstract world. We want everyone to feel included, informed and to believe that they can reap the benefits of being part of this huge community. Check out the first episode introducing our Europe@School podcast series here.

In our latest episode, JEF’s Theo Lecarpentier spoke to Marie, a former volunteer at the Moira refugee camp in Lesbos. The camp is now well known for the devastating fire which destroyed it September this year, but even before this, the thousands of migrants who inhabited it were living a desperate life in dire conditions.

From this personal experience, Marie has a deep understanding of the challenges refugees and migrants face when seeking a safe haven in Europe. Specifically, she gives us an insight into the world of unaccompanied foreign minors. Unaccompanied foreign minors are migrants under the age of 18 who arrive in the EU without a responsible guardian. Over the last five years, over 210,000 children have come to Europe in this situation.

Despite growing numbers of such cases, there is still no common legislative framework for how member states should handle the situation. International framework demands that the child’s ‘best interests’ are always protected, but sadly this is often not the reality.

Marie talks us through the problems that persist in the response of member states. We learn about the specific example of Belgium and how the education system there tries to help these children and young people build a better life for themselves. You can listen here to learn more:

If you are interested in developing a podcast episode with us on an issue you think is important and relevant to young people and is not spoken about enough – we want to hear from you! You can read more here and you can get in touch by emailing theo.lecarpentier at jef.eu .

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