Bulgaria granted citizenship to 2183 people in 2021

Bulgaria granted citizenship to 2183 people in 2021, the largest number in more than a decade, according to figures released on March 1 by European Union statistics agency Eurostat on March 1.

Of these, the largest number, 752, were people from Türkiye.

Others included people from Ukraine (270), Russia (253), North Macedonia (197), Syria (111), Serbia (105), Armenia (73) and Moldova (70).

Among the smaller numbers were people from Albania (35), Egypt (20), Belarus (13), the United States (eight), the United Kingdom (six), Israel (six), Georgia (six), Italy (five), the Czech Republic (four), Germany (three), France (two) and Romania, Poland and Greece (one each).

The figure for citizenships granted by Bulgaria in 2021 compares with 1750 in 2012; 808 in 2013; 900 in 2014; 1275 in 2015; 1626 in 2016; 914 in 2017; 997 in 2018; 736 in 2019; and 859 in 2020.

In 2021, 827 000 people acquired citizenship of the EU member state where they lived, an increase of around 14 per cent (an additional 98 300 people) compared with 2020, Eurostat said.

The largest increases in acquisitions in absolute terms were recorded in France (an additional 43 900 French citizenships granted compared with 2020), Germany (+18 800), Spain (+17 700), Sweden (+9200) and Austria (+7200). 

In contrast, the largest decreases were observed in Italy (-10 300 Italian citizenships granted compared with 2020), Portugal (-7600), Greece (-3200), Finland (-1200) and Cyprus (-800). In total, there were 10 EU countries that recorded a decrease in the number of citizenships granted, Eurostat said.

As in 2020, the majority (85 per cent) of those who obtained citizenship of an EU member state in 2021 were previously citizens of a non-EU country or stateless. Citizens of another EU country accounted for 13 per cent of the total number of citizenships acquired.

On 1 January 2022, EU citizens represented 94.6 per cent of the EU population.

In 2021, similar to 2020, Moroccans were the largest group among new EU citizens (86 200 people, of whom 71 per cent acquired citizenship of Spain or France), ahead of Syrians (83 500, 70 per cent acquired citizenship of Sweden or Netherlands), and Albanians (32 300, 70 per cent acquired citizenship of Italy).

Romanians (28 600, 33 per cent acquired citizenship of Italy) were also part of this top 10 list of recipients of EU citizenship, followed by Turks (25 700, 48 per cent acquired German citizenship), Brazilians (20 400, 65 per cent acquired citizenship of Portugal or Italy), Algerians (19 300, 80 per cent acquired citizenship of France), Ukrainians (18 200, 37 per cent acquired citizenship of Poland and Italy) Russians (17 300, 45 per cent acquired citizenship of Germany and France) and Pakistanis (16 600, 62 per cent acquired citizenship of Spain and Italy). 

Romanians (28 600 persons), Poles (12 500) and Italians (10 100) remained the three largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU member state, unchanged from previous years, Eurostat said.

The majority of new citizenships were granted by Spain (144 000; 17 per cent of EU total), France (130 400; 16 per cent), Germany (130 000; 16 per cent), Italy (121 500; 15 per cent) and Sweden (89 400 or 11 per cent) accounting for 75 per cent of new citizenships granted in the EU in 2021.

The naturalisation rate is the ratio of the number of persons who acquired the citizenship of a country during a year over the stock of non-national residents in the same country at the beginning of the year. 

In 2021, the highest naturalisation rate among EU countries was registered in Sweden, with 10 citizenships granted per 100 resident non-nationals. Sweden was followed at a distance by the Netherlands (5.4), Romania (4.6), Portugal (3.7) and Belgium and Spain (both 2.7).
At the other end of the scale, naturalisation rates below one citizenship acquisition per 100 resident non-nationals were recorded in Lithuania (0.2), Latvia (0.3), Estonia (0.5), and Czech Republic, Croatia and Slovakia (all 0.7), Eurostat said.

(Photo: Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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