LUXEMBOURG – The number of Britons becoming citizens of another EU country more than doubled in 2016, data showed, and more than quadrupled in Germany in a development Berlin put down to Brexit.
In the year Britons voted to quit the European Union, 6,555 of them acquired citizenship in another of the bloc’s states, up 165 percent from 2,478 in 2015, statistics office Eurostat said Monday.
Of those, 2,702 became German, up 355 percent. Officials said at the time the German data were released that it seemed to be linked to Brexit.
Eurostat officials declined comment on the trend and it was unclear how many Britons acquired new passports after the vote.
That process in Germany can take only a few months compared with a year or more in other EU states. The German data for 2016 might reflect a speedier process than in, say, France, where only 517 Britons became citizens in 2016, up 38 percent.
Belgium, where thousands of Britons hold jobs in Brussels that may depend on their being EU citizens, granted passports to 506 of them in 2016, four times as many as in 2015.
Eurostat data show a steadily rising trend in Britons becoming nationals of other EU states over the past decade, with the 2016 figure more than four times higher than in 2007.
Many of the 1 million or so Britons living in continental Europe were angered by the 52-48 percent result of the referendum, which will take effect a year from now, especially as many were denied a vote themselves due to residency rules.