European Interest

More Britons apply for EU passports

Flickr/Jim Larrison/CC BY 2.0
Border control in Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport, London.

Brexit has reportedly resulted in a growing number of Britons applying to become citizens of another European Union country. According to official data, the number more than doubled to 6,555 in 2016 – the same year the UK voted to leave the bloc.

Following the EU referendum, many Britons are thought to have applied for citizenship of other bloc members to be sure they will still have the right to travel and work freely in the remaining 27 states.

The data from Eurostat shows the number increased by 165% from 2,478 in 2015. Germany was the biggest recipient in 2016, with 2,702 Britons taking citizenship there.  – more than four times the 2015 figure of 594. Second is Belgium granting citizenship to 506 Britons in 2016, four times as many as in 2015.

As reported by The Guardian, 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.

Meanwhile, grassroot activists at the3million group have sent the list to the Home Office ahead of a meeting next week with the immigration minister Caroline Nokes.

The campaigners, who are lobbying for all social and employment rights to be extended beyond Brexit, accused ministers of failing to provide detail even though they are planning to start from September.

“The list of questions shows the huge gap between the claim that citizens’ rights are done and dusted and the reality for EU citizens still waiting for answers, 655 days after the Brexit referendum,” said the3million co-founder Nicolas Hatton.

Meanwhile, the Home Office said it met EU citizens’ groups monthly and it believes “this has provided reassurance” to them about their future.

“We will be setting out further details before the summer and EU citizens will have plenty of time to make an application – once the scheme launches at the end of the year they will be able to apply up until June 2021,” it added.

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