Figures show jump in UK nationals applying for EU citizenship

PUBLISHED: 16:50 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:50 06 March 2019

The European flag. Photograph: Press Association.

The European flag. Photograph: Press Association.

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The number of UK nationals that applied for EU citizenship in 2017 doubled compared to the year before, new figures show.

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In the year of the EU referendum vote, 6,555 people acquired citizenship in one of the EU’s other 27 other countries.

It doubled to 14,911 people in the following year in 2017 - an increase of 127%.

Germany granted the largest number of citizenship to UK nationals in 2017, with 6,851, followed by France (1,733), Belgium (1,381) and the Netherlands (1,248).

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, said that the rise “clearly reflects Brexit worries”.

He added: “What we don’t know is how many of these are people already living elsewhere in the EU who are worried about their rights to live, work and retire; and how many are ordinary British residents trying to keep their ‘free movement’ rights for the future.”

The figures for 2017, published by the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat, showed that around 825,000 people acquired citizenship of an EU country, down from just under one million in the previous year.

Moroccans, Albanians, Indians, Turks, Romanians, Pakistanis, Poles and Brazilians together accounted for about a third (34%) of the total number who obtained citizenship of an EU member state.

Romanians, Poles and UK nationals were the three largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU country.

According to the statistics, the UK granted citizenship to around 123,000 individuals in 2017, a fall of 18% compared with the previous year.

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