Eurostat: 300 Ukrainian nationals seek asylum in Poland in 2017

Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war were the highest number of asylum seekers in Europe and in Malta

Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war were the highest number of asylum seekers in Europe and in Malta

The EU statistical office, Eurostat said the number of people applying for asylum in the European Union has declined by almost half in the past year compared with 2016.

Just under 650,000 people sought asylum in the European Union in 2017, an nearly 50-percent decrease from the peak of 1.26 million asylum seekers recorded in 2015, the EU's statistical office said on Tuesday.

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"This was just over half the number recorded in 2016, when 1 206 500 first-time asylum applicants were registered, and is comparable to the level recorded in 2014, before the peaks of 2015 and 2016, " Eurostat said. Afghan applicants were the third-largest group at 6.7 percent.

Poland received 300 asylum applications from Ukrainian nationals in 2017, while the number of asylum seekers from Russian Federation reached 2,120.

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With 198,300 first-time applicants in 2017, Germany accounted for 31% of the total in 2017, although the figure was down by 73% on the previous year. Italy received the second-highest amount of asylum applications at 20 percent of the total, followed by France (14 percent) and Greece (9 percent).

That was a rise of 4% on the 121,185 registered in 2016. Arrivals in the same period had been 18,232 in 2017 and 13,825 in 2016, which marked a 55.44 percent and 66.21 percent drop, respectively, according to the Interior Ministry.

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The country registered 119,369 arrivals overall a year ago, and 181,436 in 2016.

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