Brits in Brussels chase Irish ancestry

Brits in Brussels chase Irish ancestry
Over 350,000 UK citizens, both living in the UK and EU member states, have opted for dual nationality. Credit: Flickr/Christopher Elison

More than 50 British people working for the European Commission in Brussels have gotten Irish passports for Brexit-related reasons.

120 officials with British nationality have secured additional passports of an EU-member state since March 2017, when the official notice that the UK was leaving the EU was given, according to data released by the Commission.

10% of the 569 Irish passport holders working for the Commission originally held a British passport, according to Irish broadcaster RTÉ. Anyone with an Irish parent, or grandparent born in Ireland is entitled to an Irish passport.

In an official notice issued after the start of the UK's withdrawal from the EU in 2017, said that the commission had taken note of the fact several of its staff from the UK had requested a change towards a different first nationality, but that they were exceptions and deserved specific handling.

“As a consequence, staff members from the United Kingdom who declare a change of nationality after 29 March 2017 shall still be considered to have kept the UK nationality as first nationality for the purpose of ensuring a balanced representation of staff within the commission, notably at middle-management and senior management level,” the notice said.

In January, figures showed that 1,403 British nationals in Belgium had gotten Belgium passports, an increase from 506 in 2016, and 127 in 2015.

Over 350,000 UK citizens, both living in the UK and EU member states, have opted for dual nationality as a post-Brexit insurance policy, according to The Guardian.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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