Photo: Freepik

Czech Republic Sees Fall In New Citizenships and Low Naturalisation Rates

The number of citizenships granted in the European Union (EU) has decreased in recent years. In 2018, 21% fewer new citizenships were issued across the EU than at the peak in 2016. Most of these were granted to non-EU citizens in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Sweden. The Czech Republic registered 2,300 new citizens in 2018, or around 0.2 per 1,000 citizens – 85% less than the EU average of 1.3 new citizenships per thousand citizens. Photo credit: Freepik / For illustrative purposes.

Czech Rep., Apr 1 (BD) – Since the migration crisis in 2016, the number of citizenships granted in the EU has decreased significantly. Whereas in 2016 almost 850,000 citizenships were granted, in 2018 this figure had fallen to 670,000, a decrease of 21%. The Czech Republic has one of the lowest numbers of citizenships granted per capita, 85% below the EU average of 1.3 per 1,000 citizens. Naturalisation rates in the Czech Republic were also among the lowest in Europe, with 0.4 per 100 foreign residents acquiring citizenship in 2018.

87% of the new citizenships issued in the EU were to non-EU or stateless citizens. Most of these were issued by Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Sweden; combined, these countries accounted for nearly three quarters of all new EU citizenships. With 2,300 new citizens, the Czech Republic accounted for just 0.3% of the EU total.

Most Citizenships Acquired by Moroccan and Albanian Nationals

In terms of nationality, the largest share of those who acquired European citizenship in 2018 were Moroccan nationals (10% of the total), mostly granted by Spain, Italy and France. With 7%, the second most common were to Albanians, of which 97% were granted in Greece and Italy.

Among EU nationals, the largest national groups acquiring citizenship in another EU member state were Romanians, Poles, and Italians, together accounting for 6% of all new citizenships granted.

In the Czech Republic, a third of those acquiring citizenship were Ukranian nationals. The second largest group was Russian nationals, who acquired one fifth of all citizenships, and around one in six citizenships were acquired by Slovak nationals.

General Decrease in Citizenships Granted

A slight majority (14 out of 27) of EU member states recorded a decrease in the number of citizenships granted in 2018 compared with 2017.

The largest relative decreases compared with 2017 were registered in Denmark (-61%), Malta (-47%) and the Czech Republic (-33%), and the highest increases in Luxembourg (+40%) and Spain (+37%).

Luxembourg also granted the most new citizenships in relation to its population, with 11.4 citizenships granted per 1,000 citizens, almost double the second highest, Sweden (6.3), and more than triple the third highest, Cyprus (3.7). Overall, 1.3 citizenships were granted per 1,000 EU citizens.

The Czech Republic was one of the member states with the fewest citizenships granted per 1,000 citizens: around 0.2, 85% below the EU average. Only Croatia, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia and Lithuania reported fewer citizenships granted per capita.

Naturalisation Rates Highest in Sweden, Lowest in the Czech Republic and Estonia

Naturalisation rates are able to provide insight into the effect of national policies on citizenship rates, and are measured as the number of citizenships granted compared to the number of foreign residents in a country.

In 2018, 2.1 per 100 non-national citizens were granted citizenship in the EU. The highest naturalisation rates were recorded in Sweden (7.2), followed by Romania (5.6) and Portugal (5.1). The lowest rates were found in Lithuania (0.5), the Czech Republic (0.4) and Estonia (0.4). The Czech Republic has a naturalisation rate of around one fifth of the EU average.

However, variations in naturalisation rates can also be attributed to changes in the non-national population, and the methods used to measure their number. Additionally, despite the name, the rate includes all types of new citizenships, not only naturalisations.

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