In 2019, a total of 706,400 people obtained citizenship of an EU-27 Member State, recording an increase of 5% compared with 2018, according to data released by Eurostat, the statistical service of the EU.
This was mainly caused by the increases in absolute terms in Germany (15,200 more persons were granted German citizenship than in 2018), followed by Italy (14,500), Spain (8,200), the Netherlands (6,300) and Belgium (4,400).
By contrast, the largest decreases in absolute terms were observed in Greece (16,300 in 2019, or 11,500 less persons were granted Greek citizenship compared with 2018), followed by Ireland (2,400), Luxembourg (1,300) and Denmark (1,100).
In Cyprus 2,900 individuals were granted citizenship, compared to 3,200 in 2018 and 3,700 in 2017, 3,100 in 2016 and 2,400 in 2015.
In relation to the population, the highest number of citizenships were granted by Luxembourg (9.1 per thousand persons) followed by Sweden (6.2), Belgium (3.5) and Cyprus (3.2). This rate is 1.5 in Greece.
The naturalisation rate is the ratio of the number of persons who acquired the citizenship of a country during a year over the stock of foreign residents in the same country at the beginning of the year. In 2019, the highest naturalisation rates were registered in Sweden (7.0 citizenships granted per 100 resident foreigners), Romania (4.7) and Portugal (4.4), followed by Finland (3.8), the Netherlands (3.2) and Belgium (2.9).
At the opposite end of the scale, naturalisation rates below 1 citizenship acquisition per 100 resident foreigners were recorded in Lithuania (0.2), Denmark (0.3), Estonia (0.4), Czechia (0.5), Latvia (0.6), Austria (0.7), Bulgaria and Slovakia (0.8 each) as well as Malta and Ireland (0.9 each). In Cyprus this rate was 1.84 and in Greece 1.96.
The majority of those who obtained the citizenship of an EU Member State in 2019 were previously citizens of a non-EU country or stateless, while former citizens of another EU Member State accounted for 13% of the total number of citizenships acquired.
In 2019, Moroccans were the largest group among new EU-citizens (66,800 persons, of whom 84% acquired citizenship of Spain, Italy or France), ahead of Albanians (41,700, 62% acquired citizenship of Italy), Britons (29,800, 75% acquired citizenship of Germany, Sweden or France), Syrians (29,100, 69% acquired citizenship of Sweden), Turks (28,600, 57% acquired German citizenship), Romanians (26,600, 60% acquired citizenship of Italy or Germany), Brazilians (23,500, 73% acquired citizenship of Italy or Portugal), Ukrainians (18,100, 59% acquired citizenship of Germany, Poland or Italy), Algerians (18,000, 82% acquired French citizenship) and Russians (16,400, 31% acquired German citizenship).
Compared to 2018, Moroccans and Albanians remained the main recipients, while Britons moved from seventh to third place.
Romanians (26,600 persons), Poles (12,600) and Italians (8,700) remained the three largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU Member State, the same as in 2018.
Most new citizenships were granted by Germany (132,000 or 19% of the EU total), Italy (127,000 or 18%), France (109,800 or 16%), Spain (99,000 or 14%) and Sweden (64,200 or 9%) accounting for 75% of new citizenships granted in the EU in 2019.