Some 18,100 Ukrainians were granted citizenship of European Union countries in 2020, largely by Poland and Germany, as the bloc naturalised 3% more people overall than in the previous year, the EU statistics office revealed this week.
The EU’s 27 member states naturalised just over 729,000 foreign nationals in that year, the Eurostat data showed, with Spain and the Netherlands leading the way.
One in 10 of the new EU citizens came from Morocco, while Syrians represented 7% and Albanians 6%. The majority of new citizens originated from outside the bloc or were stateless, Eurostat said.
Ukrainians made up 3% of new citizens during the year, largely in its western neighbour Poland, which naturalised close to 3,900 – the most of any EU country and more than double its figure in 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal each naturalised more than 2,000 Ukrainians in 2020.
Women or girls made up nearly two-thirds of the new EU citizens from Ukraine, the data showed.
More than three million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have entered the EU, especially Poland, over the past three weeks, fleeing Russia’s invasion of their country. The EU has agreed to ease their access to jobs, schools, healthcare and welfare services. It is unclear how long they will stay or how many of them might eventually seek naturalisation.
Eurostat found that EU states had in 2020 naturalised around 16,000 British people, following the United Kingdom’s exit from the bloc, 15,000 Russians and 3,500 Belarusians.
Nearly three quarters of the over 9,500 Afghans who were granted EU citizenship were naturalised in Sweden, Germany or Belgium.