A total of 706,913 asylum applications were received in the 28 member countries of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland in last year, a 43-percent reduction compared to 2016, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) said on Thursday in a press release. The requests were fewer than in both 2016 and 2015 – two years marked by extremely high numbers of arrivals – but slightly more than in 2014.
The largest number of applicants came from Syria, which accounted for more than 98,000 files. Other countries of origin with more than 40,000 applications each were Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
The list of major countries of origin also included Pakistan, Eritrea, Albania, Bangladesh, Guinea and Iran.
“We’re on the right path,” commented European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, “The significant drop in asylum applications in 2017 is a reflection of the overall reduction in the number of arrivals to the EU,” he added. “The collective efforts undertaken by the European Union over the past years to better manage migration and protect our borders are showing results.”