In 2016, 994 800 people obtained citizenship of an EU Member State, an increase of 18 % compared with 2015. This increase occurred after two consecutive years of decrease according to statistics published yesterday by Eurostat, the statistical office of EU.
About 87 % of those who acquired citizenship in 2016 were previously citizens of a non-EU country. This means that 863 400 non-EU citizens residing in the EU-28 acquired an EU citizenship in 2016.
Of these, citizens of Morocco made up the highest numbers, followed by citizens of Albania, India, Pakistan and Turkey.
The majority of Moroccans acquired citizenship of Spain (37 %), Italy (35 %) or France (18 %), while the majority of Albanians received Italian citizenship (55 %) or Greek citizenship (42 %).
A large majority of Indians (59 %) received British citizenship, around half of the Pakistanis received British citizenship (51 %) and half of the Turks received German citizenship.
Citizens of EU-28 Member States who acquired citizenship of another EU-28 Member State amounted to 120 200 persons, thus accounting for 15 % of the total.
Only in Luxembourg and Hungary were the majority of new citizenships granted to citizens of another EU Member State.
Most new citizenships in 2016 were granted by Italy (201 600 or 20 % of the total), Spain (150 900 or 15 %), the United Kingdom (149 400 or 15 %), France (119 200 or 12 %) and Germany (112 800 or 11 %).
Belgium granted citizenship to about 32 000 people in 2016, an increase by 18 % compared with the previous year. The main recipients were from Morocco (12.5 %), Romania (4.8 %), and the Netherlands (4.4 %).
In relation to the population, the highest number of citizenships were granted by Sweden (6.2 per thousand persons) followed by Luxembourg (5.7) and Cyprus (5.5).
The time it takes to become a citizen differs by country and depends on its legal framework. Eurostat does not have data on the number of asylum seekers among those who were granted citizenship.
The Brussels Times