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Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection

Preamble:
‘(33) The best interests of the child should be a primary consideration of Member States when applying this Directive, in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter) and the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In assessing the best interest of the child, Member States should in particular take due account of the minor’s well-being and social development, including his or her background.‘
Article 15 Requirements for a personal interview
‘3. Member States shall take appropriate steps to ensure that personal interviews are conducted under conditions which allow applicants to present the grounds for their applications in a comprehensive manner. To that end, Member States shall: [...]
(e) ensure that interviews with minors are conducted in a child-appropriate manner.‘
Article 25 Guarantees for unaccompanied minors
‘1. With respect to all procedures provided for in this Directive and without prejudice to the provisions of Articles 14 to 17, Member States shall:
(a) take measures as soon as possible to ensure that a representative represents and assists the unaccompanied minor to enable him or her to benefit from the rights and comply with the obligations provided for in this Directive. The unaccompanied minor shall be informed immediately of the appointment of a representative. The representative shall perform his or her duties in accordance with the principle of the best interests of the child and shall have the necessary expertise to that end. The person acting as representative shall be changed only when necessary. Organisations or individuals whose interests conflict or could potentially conflict with those of the unaccompanied minor shall not be eligible to become representatives. The representative may also be the representative referred to in Directive 2013/33/EU;
(b) ensure that the representative is given the opportunity to inform the unaccompanied minor about the meaning and possible consequences of the personal interview and, where appropriate, how to prepare himself or herself for the personal interview. Member States shall ensure that a representative and/or a legal adviser or other counsellor admitted or permitted as such under national law are present at that interview and have an opportunity to ask questions or make comments, within the framework set by the person who conducts the interview.
Member States may require the presence of the unaccompanied minor at the personal interview, even if the representative is present.
2. Member States may refrain from appointing a representative where the unaccompanied minor will in all likelihood reach the age of 18 before a decision at first instance is taken.
3. Member States shall ensure that:
(a) if an unaccompanied minor has a personal interview on his or her application for international protection as referred to in Articles 14 to 17 and 34, that interview is conducted by a person who has the necessary knowledge of the special needs of minors;
(b) an official with the necessary knowledge of the special needs of minors prepares the decision by the determining authority on the application of an unaccompanied minor.
4. Unaccompanied minors and their representatives shall be provided, free of charge, with legal and procedural information as referred to in Article 19 also in the procedures for the withdrawal of international protection provided for in Chapter IV.
5. Member States may use medical examinations to determine the age of unaccompanied minors within the framework of the examination of an application for international protection where, following general statements or other relevant indications, Member States have doubts concerning the applicant’s age. If, thereafter, Member States are still in doubt concerning the applicant’s age, they shall assume that the applicant is a minor.
Any medical examination shall be performed with full respect for the individual’s dignity, shall be the least invasive examination and shall be carried out by qualified medical professionals allowing, to the extent possible, for a reliable result.
Where medical examinations are used, Member States shall ensure that:
(a) unaccompanied minors are informed prior to the examination of their application for international protection, and in a language that they understand or are reasonably supposed to understand, of the possibility that their age may be determined by medical examination. This shall include information on the method of examination and the possible consequences of the result of the medical examination for the examination of the application for international protection, as well as the consequences of refusal on the part of the unaccompanied minor to undergo the medical examination;
(b) unaccompanied minors and/or their representatives consent to a medical examination being carried out to determine the age of the minors concerned; and
(c) the decision to reject an application for international protection by an unaccompanied minor who refused to undergo a medical examination shall not be based solely on that refusal.
The fact that an unaccompanied minor has refused to undergo a medical examination shall not prevent the determining authority from taking a decision on the application for international protection.
6. The best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration for Member States when implementing this Directive. [...].‘