Some 1.2 million people sought asylum in the European Union last year, just slightly lower than in 2015 as conflict and upheaval in Syria and elsewhere keep driving people from their homes, EU figures showed Thursday.
The Eurostat statistics agency said that if the 2016 number was lower than the 1.26 million who came in 2015, it was still more than double the 562,000 of 2014.
Syrians were the biggest single group of first-time asylum seekers last year at 334,800, followed by Afghans on 183,000 and Iraqis 127,000.
Germany, which accepted nearly one million refugees in 2015, took in about 60 percent of the total number of migrants, some 722,300, Eurostat said.
Italy received 121,000 or 10 percent, France 76,000, Greece 49,000, Austria 39,000 and the United Kingdom 38,300.
The fact that the overall 2016 number was only slightly lower than that of 2015 likely reflects delayed recording of asylum requests and the fact that many people do not submit their application immediately on arrival in an EU member state, although under the rules they are supposed to do so.
The main feature of 2016 was the dramatic fall from about one million to around 363,000 migrant arrivals in Greece after an EU-Turkey accord in March that year, according to the International Organization for Migration.
However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday that Turkey may revoke the refugee deal with the EU.
Turkey and the EU signed a refugee deal in March 2016, which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The deal included a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) aid package to help Turkey care for the millions of refugees hosted in the country. However, Turkey has so far received only 677 million euro.
The agreement also allowed for the acceleration of Turkey's EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area that comprises most EU states.
In a joint statement in November 2015, the EU and Turkey confirmed their commitments to re-energize the accession process.
However, "the issue of severing the agreement should be solved at the level of the president or the premier," Çelik said.
Last week, the Netherlands detained the Turkish chargé d'affaires in The Hague, Alper Yüksel and Rotterdam Consul-General Sadin Ayyıldız. The Dutch premier Mark Rutte later apologized to his Turkish counterpart Binali Yıldırım for the detentions.
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