“Everyone has the right to a nationality”

Acquisition and loss of citizenship in EU Member States: Key trends and issues

Published: July 2018

This new briefing by the European Parliamentary Research Service looks at access to citizenship status and loss of it across EU member states. Citizenship is an important prerequisite for enjoying rights and privileges, such as migration and political rights, as well as for developing a sense of identity and belonging. Since the establishment of Union citizenship, all persons who are nationals or citizens of an EU Member State enjoy the status of EU citizenship, which confers on them a number of additional rights and privileges.

However, Member States retain full control over who can be recognised as a citizen. Although the legal rules on the acquisition and loss of citizenship in the EU Member States remain fairly divergent, one can identify a number of key trends and issues. The need to integrate long-term immigrants has pushed EU countries to amend their citizenship laws.

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