The Latest: More than 700,000 granted asylum in EU in 2016

The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):

12:35 p.m.

The European Union's statistical agency says European countries granted refugee status or some other protection to more than 700,000 people last year, most of them Syrians.

Eurostat said Wednesday that the 28 EU member countries gave protection to 710,400 asylum-seekers in 2016, more than double the number the previous year. It came after more than a million people entered Europe, most fleeing conflict in Syria or Iraq but some also looking for jobs.

Eurostat said that 405,600 people were Syrians, 65,800 were Iraqis and 61,800 Afghans.

More than 70 percent of the Syrians were offered protection by Germany. Sweden took in almost 45,000


11:25 a.m.

Libya is asking the European Union for motorboats and helicopters to help patrol the Mediterranean Sea for ships carrying migrants.

The German government says a "request list" for Libya's coast guard also includes ambulances, communications equipment and night vision gear.

According to the German government's response to a parliamentary question from the opposition Left Party, obtained by The Associated Press, the EU executive is currently considering the request.

German public broadcaster ARD reported Wednesday that Libya wants some of the 130 motorboats to be armed.

The EU wants to clamp down on migrants crossing to Europe from the North African country, which has descended into chaos since the 2011 toppling of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

EU states are deploying submarines and aircraft to assist in reconnaissance efforts.