Acquisition of citizenship in the EU
In 2010, 810,500 persons acquired citizenship of an EU27 Member State. The highest number of citizenships were granted by the United Kingdom (195,000 persons), France (143,000), Spain (124,000) and Germany (105,000), which together accounted for 70% of all citizenships granted by the EU27 Member States.
Compared with 2009, the number of acquisitions rose by 4% in the EU27 in 2010, mainly due to an increase in the number of citizenships granted by Spain.
The new citizens in the EU27 in 2010 came from Africa (29% of the total number of citizenships acquired), Asia (23%), non-EU27 Europe (19%), North and South America (19%), another EU27 Member State (9%) and Oceania (1%).
The EU defines citizenship as the legal bond between an individual and a state, acquired by birth, naturalisation or other means according to national legislation.
Naturalisation is the process by which a state grants its citizenship through a formal act on the application of the individual concerned. Other ways of granting citizenship may include spouses of nationals, minors adopted by nationals and descendants of nationals born abroad returning to the country of origin of their ancestors.