With just ten months to go before the UK formally leaves the European Union, it’s been revealed that the number of Britons becoming naturalised German citizens rose 162% in 2017 from the year before.
From 2015 to 2016, the number of British people seeking German citizenship had already jumped 361%. Just 622 British citizens acquired German citizenship in 2015 — though last year a total of 7,493 picked up a German passport.
Many British people are thought to be rushing to take advantage of dual citizenship with Germany — which they will only be able to do while Britain is still an EU member.
People are worried they will lose the right to live and work in Germany — Europe’s biggest economy — as well as other countries around the EU once the UK quits the trading bloc.
Usually people from the UK need to have lived in Germany for eight years before they can be awarded a German passport. Applications typically take at least six months to process.
The total number of people becoming German from around the world rose by 1.7% last year to 112,200, the highest level since 2013.
Germany’s Federal Statistics Office said Turks were the largest group to be granted German passports last year at 15,000 — putting Britons in second place.
The influx of British applications to become German citizens comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel is battling to appease the anti-immigration elements of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.
Germany is trying to integrate more than a million migrants who entered the country in 2015 and 2016 after Merkel announced an open-door refugee policy.
Brexit uncertainty bubbles away
Uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU in March 2019 has been a headache for not only UK Prime Minister Theresa May — who’s been working to secure a Brexit deal with the next update expected at the June EU summit.
Yesterday, European committee of the regions president Karl-Heinz Lambertz said a lack of clarity on the future relationship between the UK and the EU has left the majority of European regions unable to properly assess the potential impact of Brexit.
He said the majority of local authorities had yet to formulate firm plans to cope with potential lost trade, tourism and other ties with the UK.
Meanwhile, Tory hard Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested he thinks May and her government don’t actually want to leave the EU at all.
In a podcast for a Conservative Party website, Rees-Mogg expressed fears that May’s attempts to find a solution to the Irish border dilemma would end up with Britain remaining tethered to Brussels.
Britain’s Brexit economy
The governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said yesterday that British households are more than £900 worse off following the June 2016 Brexit vote.
He told a senior group of MPs the vote to leave the European Union had lowered growth by “up to 2%”, though he did say there could be a “sharp pick-up” in business investment when a Brexit agreement is struck.
Giving evidence to the Treasury Committee, Carney said:
Real household incomes are about £900 lower than we forecast in 2016. The question is why and what drove that difference. Some of it is ascribed to Brexit.