Brexit prompts more Brits to seek EU citizenship

The number of British who became citizens of another European country more than doubled in the year the Brexit vote took place, new figures show.

According to data from the EU statistics agency Eurostat., 6,555 British nationals became citizens of other member states in 2016 – a rise of 165 percent on the previous year.

Germany was the preferred destination, with 2,702 Britons taking citizenship there — more than four times the 2015 figure of just 594. Sweden also saw the number double from 453 in 2015 to 978 in 2016.

The Netherlands (640), France (517) and Belgium (506) were also popular locations for Brits seeking EU citizenship.

“The increase in Britons acquiring the nationality of other EU countries is obviously driven by the prospect of Brexit,” said Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics at King’s College, London. “It is very likely to make UK citizenship much less useful for working, living and travelling elsewhere in the EU. It would be very surprising if this trend did not continue.”

Anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain said the government should be “ashamed that people feel they have no option but to give up their citizenship or apply to be a dual national”.

“These people are giving up part of their identity to try and secure their future,” the group’s spokesman, Paul Butters, said.

In total, the Eurostat figures show that almost a million people were granted citizenship by EU member states in 2016, up by 18 percent on the previous year.

Article published 13th April 2018