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EU citizenship gives holders the right to live and work in the member states of the bloc / Photo: FBPE

Almost 1 million persons granted EU citizenship

EU countries granted citizenship to around 995,000 people in 2016, according to the latest figures released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on Monday (9 April).

In 2016, around 995 000 persons acquired citizenship of a Member State of the European Union (EU), up from 841,000 in 2015 and 889,000 in 2014. Of the total number of persons obtaining the citizenship of one of the EU Member States in 2016, 12% were former citizens of another EU Member State, while the majority were non-EU citizens or stateless.

The largest group acquiring citizenship of an EU Member State where they lived in 2016 was citizens of Morocco (101,300 persons, of whom 89% acquired citizenship of Spain, Italy or France), ahead of citizens of Albania (67,500; 97% acquired citizenship of Italy or Greece), India (41,700, almost 60% acquired British citizenship), Pakistan (32,900; more than half acquired British citizenship), Turkey (32,800; almost half acquired German citizenship), Romania (29,700; 44% acquired Italian citizenship), and Ukraine (24,000; 60% acquired citizenship of Germany, Romania, Portugal or Italy).

Leading African citizens who received the citizenship of an EU Member State were Algerians (23,400; 72.5% of whom acquired French citizenship), Nigerian (18,300; 52.1% acquired British citizenship), Somalis (18,100; about half acquired Swedish citizenship), Tunisians (14,700; 52.2 % acquired French citizenship), Senegalese (11,300; 45% acquired Italian citizenship) and Ghanaians (10,900; 40.7% acquired Italian citizenship),

Italy granted the most passports (201,591), ahead of Spain (150,944) and the UK (149,372).

Romanians (29,700 persons) and Poles (19,800) were the two largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU Member State.

The EU includes Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Femi Awoniyi

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