Cyprus came in third place for highest number of citizenships granted in 2017 relative to population, while there was an EU-wide decrease in the overall numbers from previous years.
According to Eurostat, there were 825,400 people who obtained citizenship of an EU-28 Member State in 2017, a decrease of 17% compared to 2016 with 995,000 and down from 841,000 in 2015.
Cyprus News Agency (CNA) on Thursday said that 5517 individuals obtained the republic’s citizenship, an 18% increase since 2016. About 23.8% of them were Russians, 9.1% UK citizens and 8.7% from Ukraine.
The highest number of citizenships relative to local populations were granted by Luxembourg with 8.4 per thousand persons, followed by Sweden with 6.9, and Cyprus with 6.4 which was almost four times the EU average.
But there was also an overall EU-level drop largely due to decreases coming from Spain, with 84,400 fewer persons granted Spanish citizenship in 2017 compared to 2016, followed by Italy (55,000), the United Kingdom (26,300), Denmark (7800) and Portugal (7100).
In actual numbers, most new citizenships in 2017 were granted by Italy (146,600 or 18% of the EU-28 total), the United Kingdom (123,100 or 15%), Germany (115,400 or 14%), France (114,300 or 14%) and Sweden (68,900 or 8%).
Of those acquiring citizenship of an EU-28 Member State, 82% had previously been citizens of non-EU countries, with the highest numbers coming from Morocco, Albania, India, Turkey and Pakistan.
This means that 673,000 non-EU-28 citizens residing in the EU-28 acquired an EU citizenship in 2017, a 22% drop compared to 2016. And of the total number of persons obtaining a passport from a an EU member state in 2017, 17% were former citizens of another EU member state while the majority were non-EU citizens or stateless.