15 JUN 2011
By Ray Clancy | ExpatForum.com
There are more people acquiring citizenship of European Union countries than ever before with the UK, France and Germany leading the surge, according to a new report.
EU member states granted a record 776,000 citizenships in 2009, an increase of 11% on the previous year. This follows two years of decline in 2007 and 2008.
The top three countries recorded 56% of the EU total while Luxembourg was the country with the highest number of acquisitions per inhabitant in the EU, followed by Cyprus, the UK and Sweden.
The EU report also shows that relatively to the size of the resident foreign population the country at the top was Portugal, followed by Sweden, the UK and Poland and Moroccans and Turks are the largest groups among those who became citizens of an EU member state.
In all member states except Luxembourg and Hungary, the majority of those who acquired citizenship were previously non-EU citizens.
The UK granted 26% of all new citizenships in the EU but the report says that the increase is largely due to the relatively low number of acquisitions recorded in 2008, which was a consequence of changes in staff allocation within the national responsible authority.
France recorded 18% and Germany 12%. These three countries have been the top three for the last 10 years.
In relative terms Italy and Romania also granted increased numbers of citizenships, up 40% and 68% respectively and the number of persons acquiring Luxembourg citizenship in 2009 was 2.3 times higher than that recorded in the previous year.
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