Moroccans gaining EU citizenship primarily received Italian, Spanish, or French citizenship, according to a recent report.
Rabat – Over 800,000 people acquired citizenship in an EU member state in 2017, and Moroccan citizens formed the “largest group” of those.
Europe’s newest citizens largely acquired citizenship in the same countries as others from their birth country, possibly because of established immigrant populations there.
Most Moroccans, 83 percent, who became EU citizens, will now be calling a southwest European country their home. About one-third of them acquired Italian citizenship, one-quarter gained Spanish citizenship, and just under one-quarter are now French citizens.
After Morocco, Albanians, Indians, and Turkish nationals made up the largest groups of nationals gaining citizenship in the EU. The overwhelming majority of the 58,900 Albanians who now have citizenship of an EU state are in Greece or Italy.
More than half of the 31,600 Indians who now have EU citizenship got British passports. Similarly, half of the 20,000 Turkish nationals who gained EU citizenship have German passports.
“Together, Moroccans, Albanians, Indians, Turks, Romanians, Pakistanis, Poles, and Brazilians accounted for about one third (34%) of the total number of persons who acquired the citizenship of a Member State of the EU in 2017.”
According to Eurostat, 825,400 people obtained citizenship of an EU-28 member state in 2017. The numbers are actually a decrease of 17 percent compared with 2016.
“The main contribution to the decrease at EU level came from Spain (84,400 less persons were granted Spanish citizenship than in 2016).”
Italy also gave out 55,000 fewer citizenships in 2017 than in 2016.
However, Italy, along with the UK, Germany, France, and Sweden granted the most new citizenships in 2017.
“Of those acquiring citizenship of an EU-28 Member State, 82 % had previously been citizens of non-EU countries,” the statistics explained.
Moroccans leave because of unemployment
Lack of job opportunities causes hundreds of young Moroccans to look for opportunities abroad. While some look for jobs abroad with their advanced degrees, others look for illegal ways to leave, risking their lives at sea.
In January, Morocco’s Minister of Education Said Amzazi acknowledged that more than 600 engineers leave Morocco every year.
In addition to engineers, a survey by Moroccan marketing agency Sungeria found that four out of 10 Moroccans would leave Morocco if they were offered the opportunity.
The study, which surveyed 1,000 people, also found that women were more inclined toward emigration than men.