Number of UK nationals taking citizenship of another EU country doubles

The number of UK nationals granted citizenship of another EU country more than doubled in 2016, new figures show.

A total of 6,555 applications were approved in 2016 - the year of the Brexit vote - up from 2,478 in 2015.

It is the highest number since records began in 2002, according to the EU statistics body Eurostat.

Around four in 10 (41%) were for German citizenship, while 15% were for Sweden and 10% for the Netherlands.

Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics at King's College, London, said: "The increase in Britons acquiring the nationality of other EU countries is obviously driven by the prospect of Brexit, which 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."

According to Eurostat, the figures include people who became dual citizens of the UK and another EU state, plus those who renounced their British citizenship entirely.

Of the 6,555 citizenships granted to UK nationals in 2016, only 2% were for Irish nationality.

This is despite reports of large numbers of applications after the EU referendum in June of that year.

The figures also show that in 2016 around 995,000 people across the European Union were granted citizenship of an EU member state.

Moroccans, Albanians and Indians were the main recipients.

Some 59% of Indian nationals and 51% of Pakistani nationals were granted EU citizenship by the UK.

The UK was also the country to grant the majority of citizenships to Nigerian, Filipino and Chinese nationals.

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