Bulgaria granted citizenship to 914 people in 2017, a figure 44 per cent lower than in 2016, European Union statistics agency Eurostat said on March 6.
Of the Bulgarian citizenships granted, the largest number were to people from Ukraine (22.3 per cent), followed by Russians (19 per cent) and people from Turkey (12 per cent), Eurostat said.
The statistics agency said that in 2017, about 825 000 people acquired citizenship of an EU country, down from 995 000 in 2016 and 841 000 in 2015.
Of the total number of people obtaining the citizenship of one of the EU member states in 2017, seventeen per cent were former citizens of another EU member state, while the majority were non-EU citizens or stateless.
The largest group acquiring citizenship of an EU member state where they lived in 2017 was citizens of Morocco (67 900 people, of whom 83 per cent acquired citizenship of Italy, Spain or France), ahead of citizens of Albania (58 900, 97 per cent acquired citizenship of Greece or Italy), India (31 600, over 53 per cent acquired British citizenship), Turkey (29 900, over 50 per cent acquired German citizenship), Romania (25 000, 32 per cent acquired Italian citizenship), Pakistan (23 100, 45 per cent acquired citizenship of the UK), Poland (22 000, 63 per cent acquired citizenship of the UK or Germany), and Brazil (21 600, 74 per cent acquired citizenship of Italy or Portugal).
Moroccans, Albanians, Indians, Turks, Romanians, Pakistanis, Poles and Brazilians represented together about a third (34 per cent) of the total number of people who acquired citizenship of an EU country in 2017.
Romanians (25 000 people), Poles (22 000) and Britons (15 000) were the three largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU member state. The number of UK nationals acquiring citizenship of another EU member state more than doubled in 2017.
Focusing on former citizenships for which at least 100 people acquired the citizenship of an EU member state in 2017, the largest relative increase compared with 2016 was for citizens of the UK (from 6555 people in 2016 to 14 911 in 2017, an increase of 127 per cent).
The naturalisation rate is the ratio of the number of people who acquired the citizenship of a country during a year over the stock of foreign residents in the same country at the beginning of the year. In 2017, the highest naturalisation rates were registered in Sweden (8.2 citizenships granted per 100 resident foreigners), Romania (5.9) and Finland (5.0), followed by Portugal (4.5), Greece (4.2) and Cyprus (3.9).
At the opposite end of the scale, naturalisation rates below 1 citizenship acquisition per 100 resident foreigners were recorded in Estonia (0.4), Latvia (0.6), Austria and the Czech Republic (both 0.7), Slovakia and Lithuania (both 0.9).
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)