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Sweden tops EU in citizenship approval rate

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Sweden tops EU in citizenship approval rate
14:47 CEST+02:00
Sweden is the most generous country in the EU when it comes to approving citizenship applications, according to a new report from Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, on Tuesday.

A total of 30,460 people acquired Swedish citizenship in 2008, a drop from 33,630 in 2007. However, the country had the highest rate of citizenship approvals among all EU countries in 2008, at 54 citizenships granted per 1,000 resident foreigners, followed closely by Portugal at 51, Poland at 48, Finland at 47 and Hungary at 43.

Sweden also topped the list in 2008 when comparing the rate of citizenship acquisition against the total population of each member state, with 3.3 citizenships per 1,000 inhabitants, ahead of Luxembourg at 2.5 and France, Portugal and the UK at 2.1 each.

In 2008, 695,880 persons acquired citizenship of an EU state, compared with 707,110 in 2007. The new citizens in 2008 came mainly from Africa (29 percent of the total number of citizenships acquired), non-EU Europe (22 percent), Asia (19 percent) and North and South America (17 percent).

EU citizens who acquired citizenship in another EU country accounted for eight percent of the total. In 2008, the highest number of citizenships were granted by France (137,000), the UK (129,000) and Germany (94,000), which together accounted for over 50 percent of all citizenships granted in the EU.

The lowest rate of citizenship approval in the EU in 2008 belonged to the Czech Republic at 3 per 1,000 resident foreigners and Ireland and Luxembourg, both at 6. The EU average in 2008 stood at 23 per 1,000 resident foreigners.

Ten member states granted less than one citizenship per 1,000 in 2008, with Poland registering the lowest rate, followed by the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Slovakia. The EU average was 1.4 citizenships granted per 1,000 inhabitants.

In 2008, the largest groups that acquired EU citizenship were citizens of Morocco (64,000 persons), Turkey (50,000), Ecuador (27,000), Algeria (23,000) and Iraq (20,000).

France granted 45 percent of all the citizenships acquired in the EU by Moroccans and 88 percent of those acquired by Algerians, Germany 49 percent of those acquired by Turks, Spain 93 percent of those acquired by Ecuadorians and the UK 44 percent of those acquired by Iraqis.

In some member states, a large part of the citizenships was granted to citizens from only one country. The member states with the highest concentrations were Romania (89 percent of new citizens came from Moldova), Hungary (68 percent from Romania), Greece (59 percent from Albania) and Bulgaria (51 percent from Macedonia).

In Latvia and Estonia, 96 percent and 92 percent respectively of the new citizens were recognised non-citizens. The majority were citizens of the former Soviet Union.

A recognised non-citizen is a person who is neither a citizen of the reporting country nor of any other country and who has established links to the reporting country which include some but not all rights and obligations of full citizenship.

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