Moroccan nationals continue to dominate for the 7th consecutive year the list of the recipients of the European Union citizenship, according to figures on naturalization in the European Union for 2018, released on Monday by the EU statistics agency Eurostat.
In 2018, some 67,200 Moroccans received the citizenship of Spain, Italy or France, representing nearly 10% of all the people who were granted the citizenship of a European country in 2018.
They are followed by Albanians (47,400 or 7%), Turks (28,400 or 4.2%), Brazilians (23, 100), Romanians (21,500) and Algerians (18,400).
Although Moroccans rank first in terms of naturalizations in the EU, their numbers continue to fall. In 2015, there were 255,279 naturalized Moroccans in the EU. This number fell to 169,143 in 2016, 134,777 in 2017 and 67,156 in 2018.
Algerians come in the 6th place and the majority of their naturalizations (80.9%) have been recorded in France. Out of the 18,387 naturalized Algerians, 7.9% obtained Spanish citizenship, 4.3% Italian citizenship and 3.1% obtained Belgian citizenship.
As for Tunisians (13th place), 58.9% of the 11,352 of the naturalizations were granted by France, 21.9% by Italy and 10.4% of naturalized Tunisians were in Germany.
According to Eurostat, while they were 700,561 in 2017, 672,270 people obtained citizenship of one of the member states of the European Union in 2018. Spain is now the top European country granting citizenship. The Iberian kingdom is followed by Italy, France and Belgium.
The EU is an important partner for Morocco given its geographical proximity and the scale of its economic and human ties with the European bloc.
The EU continues to be Morocco’s most important economic partner by a large margin, representing over 60 pc of its trade and its exports. EU countries also accounted for at least 70 per cent of FDI into Morocco in 2018.
Furthermore, the Moroccan diaspora in the EU represents an important human tie as well as an important source of remittances, which globally represent 6.2 per cent of Moroccan GDP, with the majority coming from the EU.