EU nations granted refugee or protection status to 710,400 people last year, of whom more than half were Syrian, the bloc's statistical agency said on Wednesday.

The figure was "more than double the number of 2015," Eurostat said.

"The largest group of beneficiaries of protection status in the EU in 2016 remained citizens of Syria (405,600 persons, or 57 percent of the total number of persons granted protection status," it said.

Iraqis made up the second biggest group with 65,800, followed by Afghans with 61,800, it said.

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