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Photograph: EPA/YANNIS KOLESIDIS

Over 1.2 million people applied for asylum in 28 European Union member states in 2015, twice as many as in 2014, the EU statistical office Eurostat has reported.

Last year a total of 1, 255, 600 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the EU member states and of them 362,800 were Syrians.  

"The number of Syrians seeking international protection has doubled in 2015 compared with the previous year to reach 362 800, while the number of Afghans has almost quadrupled to 178 200 and that of Iraqis has multiplied by 7 to 121 500. They represent the three main citizenships of first time asylum applicants in the EU Member States in 2015, accounting for more than half of all first time applicants."

Germany was the most desirable destination for asylum seekers, according to Eurostat.

"In 2015, the highest number of first time applicants was registered in Germany (with 441 800 first time applicants, or 35% of all first time applicants in the EU Member States), followed by Hungary (174 400, or 14%), Sweden (156 100, or 12%), Austria (85 500, or 7%), Italy (83 200, or 7%) and France (70 600, or 6%). Compared with the previous year, the number of first time asylum applicants in 2015 increased the most in Finland (+822%), ahead of Hungary (+323%), Austria (+233%), Belgium (+178%), Spain (+167%) and Germany (+155%)." 

In Croatia, 140 people applied for asylum, down 63% from 2014 when 380 did so. Of those 140 asylum seekers, 25 were from Syria, 10 from Afghanistan and 10 from Kosovo.

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