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Stats show 1.2M people sought asylum in EU last year

Associated Press

Brussels — The European Union’s statistical agency says more than 1.2 million people applied for asylum in the bloc last year, mostly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis.

In data released Thursday, Eurostat said first-time applications for international protection were slightly down on numbers from 2015.

But the figure is almost double the 562,700 people who applied for asylum for the first time in 2014.

Of those arriving last year, around one third — 334,800 — were from war-torn Syria, while 183,000 Afghans and 127,000 Iraqis also sought sanctuary.

Eurostat says 60 percent of applications were filed in Germany, followed by Italy with 10 percent. Applications dropped markedly in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Hungary.

It said around 1 million files were still being processed at the end of last year.