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Big drop in EU asylum requests granted in 2017: official

The number of asylum-seekers in the European Union whose applications were granted dropped by almost a quarter in 2017 to 538,000, official figures released has shown.

Syrians accounted for 33 percent of successful applications, according to the figures released by the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat on Thursday.

"Of the 175,800 Syrians granted protective status in the EU, over 70 percent have been registered in Germany," Eurostat said.

Germany saw over a million migrants, many Syrians, enter the country after Chancellor Angela Merkel announced an open door refugee policy in 2015.

Of the total number of successful applications across the EU, the largest number -- 60 percent or 325,400 -- were in Germany, followed by France (40,600), Italy (35,100) and Austria (34,000).

According to Eurostat figures released in March, 650,000 asylum applications were registered in EU countries in 2017, almost half the number in 2016.

Applications peaked in 2015 when nearly 1.26 million people sought asylum.