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More asylum requests processed in Germany than rest of EU combined - reports

New figures show Germany received and processed more asylum requests in the first nine months of 2016 than the rest of the EU combined. Italy and France received the second and third highest number of requests.

Figures released Tuesday by the EU statistics office, Eurostat, show that around 420,000 asylum requests were processed in Germany in the first nine months of 2016 - more than in all other 27 EU countries combined.

A total of 756,000 asylum requests processed in the EU between January and September 2016, 55 percent of which were handled in Germany.

Of the overall 988,000 EU asylum requests made in the same timeframe, around two-thirds were made in Germany.

Figures vary, however, as to the exact number of requests made in Germany. Eurostat puts the number at 612,000, while the Federal Interior Ministry puts it at 658,000.

Speaking to German newspaper Die Welt, which broke the story on Tuesday, Johannes Singhammer, one of the vice presidents of the German parliament, said: "The oft-quoted notion that Europe is shifting responsibility for taking in refugees to the southern countries simply doesn't hold when you look at the figures."

The number's also "make clear that refugee crisis in Germany has not been overcome," Singhammer said.

The number of asylum requests for 2016 does not necessarily reflect the number of refugees that entered Germany in the same period. Many of those who applied for asylum last year had already entered the country a year before, but had been unable to make a formal request. The German government recorded around 272,000 arrivals in the first nine months 2016 using its electronic registration system.

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Asylum in the rest of the EU

Italy processed some 68,000 asylum requests in the first three quarters of 2016 while receiving around 85,000 requests. France processed nearly the same number at 63,000.

Although Italy processed the second highest number of asylum requests, the total still only comes to less than one-sixth the amount processed in Germany.

Denmark, meanwhile, saw a sharp decrease in the number of asylum applications, falling from roughly 21,000 in 2015 to 5,300 in the first nine months of 2016.

The figures published by Eurostat and Die Welt also shows which other EU have fallen short when dealing with asylum cases.  In Greece, the first European destination for many refugees that fled conflicts in the Middle East, the government processed just 7,600 of 30,000 asylum requests.

When the migrant crisis broke out in 2015, Greece was widely used my incoming migrants as a transit country than a destination. However, with much of the Balkan route into central and western Europe since closed off, the indebted country has struggled to provide basic provision to the some 50,000 migrants still housed in refugee camps.

dm/kms (dpa, KNA)

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