Moroccans were the top recipients of European Union citizenship in 2017. While approximately 68, 000 Moroccans were granted EU citizenship in 2017, these figures show more than a 33% drop in grants since 2016.
Rabat – The European Statistical Office (Eurostat) has released figures on the number of citizenships granted by the European Union in 2017.
Eurostat reports that in 2017, a total of 825,447 citizenships were granted by member states of the European Union. The top three recipient countries of European citizenship were Morocco, followed by Albania, and India.
The EU has granted the most citizenships to Morocco every year since 2012 (the date of the earliest Eurostat figures). The total number of citizenships granted have however dropped significantly. In 2017, the EU granted citizenship to 67,848 Moroccans, while in 2016, 101 295 Moroccans acquired citizenship.
Italy granted most of the EU citizenships (33.4%), followed by Spain (25.2%), France (24.6%), Belgium (7.5%), and “other” (9.3%).
The number of EU citizenships granted in 2017 was the lowest since 2012. The drop in figures can in part be explained by the rise of EU protectionist immigration policies.
Economic uncertainty, cynicism about the effectiveness of the European Union, and anger over the ongoing migrant crisis shaped more right-leaning policies in Europe’s member states.
Muslim immigrants have borne the brunt of Europe’s protectionist discourse. In France in 2017, far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen used Islam and national identity to bolster conservative votes.
“Financial globalization and Islamist globalization are helping each other out. Those two ideologies want to bring France to its knees,’ Le Pen told supporters at the launch of her campaign that year.
Despite this, Moroccans still want to go to Europe. A 2019 survey from BBC News Arabic and the Arab Barometer showed that more than 40 % of Moroccans dream of emigrating. In fact, 64% of the people interviewed in Morocco said that given the chance, they would emigrate to Europe.
Fewer and fewer Moroccans may have this chance if EU citizenship grant figures continue on their downward trend.