The 28 EU Member States granted protection status to 710,400 asylum seekers last year, more than double that of 2015, Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office reported on Wednesday. More than half of the beneficiaries came from Syria. EU Member States granted asylum to 405,600 Syrians in 2016, Syrians comprising or 57% of the total. The number of Syrians exceeded that of citizens from Iraq (9% of the total), Afghanistan (9%), Eritrea (5%) and Iran and Somalia (2%). Stateless persons also represent 2% of asylum seekers in the European Union.
The number of decisions granting asylum to Syrians more than doubled compared to 2015, adds Eurostat. They were the main beneficiaries of protective status in 19 of the 28 Member States and more than 70% were registered in Germany (294,700). Belgium has granted asylum to 6,605 Syrians (43% of the national total), 3,355 Iraqis (22%) and 1,490 Afghans (10%), according to the EU statistical office.
Germany is also the EU Member State that has accepted the highest number of asylum applications in 2016 (445,210, three times more than in 2015), ahead of Sweden (69,350), Italy (35,450), France (35,170) and Austria (31,750). Belgium counts 15,395 positive decisions.