The EU statistical office, Eurostat said the number of people applying for asylum in the European Union has declined by nearly half in the past year compared with 2016.
The office said in a statement on Tuesday that 650,000 people applied for asylum for the first time to European countries in 2017, compared with 1.2 million people in the previous year, adding that the Syrians topped the list of asylum seekers with 102,400 people followed by Iraqis 47,500 applications and Afghans 43,600 applications.
“The numbers mentioned for the three nationalities accounted for 30 percent of total asylum applications over the past year” Eurostat said, adding that “the main reason for this decline is the decline in asylum applications from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq”.
Germany received 198,300 applications or 31 percent of total applications followed by Italy which came in second place with 126,600 applications (20 percent) and France 91,100 applications (14 percent).
Eurostat explained that four out of every five first asylum seekers or 82 percent were under 35 years of age.
“By the end of 2017, there were 927,300 applications under study from national authorities in European countries” it added.