London – Far more British citizens acquired another European Union nationality last year compared with previous years, according to figures obtained by the broadcaster BBC.
In 2017, 12,994 people obtained the nationality of one of the 17 EU members states that were surveyed by the BBC – some two and a half times more than in 2016, when the figure was 5,025.
The surge comes after the Brexit referendum that will lead to Britain’s departure from the bloc in March next year.
It is not yet clear what rights British citizens will have to live and work in the EU after Britain leaves, as this is currently the subject of fraught negotiations between London and Brussels. British citizens can currently work and live freely in another EU country.
The most popular new nationality according to the BBC figures was German, which saw a jump from 594 in 2015, to 2,702 in 2016, and 7,493 last year. France was the second-most popular nationality.
In most cases, applicants retained their British nationality, the BBC reported.