If this is what you want then go get it. Choice is good, right? Credit Julianaldn1 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 Internationa

We should celebrate that so many Britons are getting on with the business of securing citizenship of one of the remnant European Union states. For that is what is happening, those who wish to retain r-EU citizenship are doing so by gaining citizenship of an r-EU state. They’re doing so in rising numbers too – as I insist, something to be happy about, even to applaud.

Surge in British people obtaining EU citizenship since referendum, new data reveals
Germany is the most the popular member state for Britons seeking citizenship, with 7,493 people gaining nationality in 2017 compared with 2,702 the previous year.

One part of this is clearly just that we’re well rid of those who would be Germans. Further, the most vociferous of those insisting we must stay in the EU are, by their staying in the EU, making it easier for us not to. But those sorts of reactions would be churlish – not that there’s anything wrong with being a churl of course.

There has been a surge in UK citizens acquiring the nationality of another EU country since the Brexit referendum, according to data obtained by the BBC.

In 2017 a total of 12,994 UK citizens obtained the nationality of one of the 17 member states from which the BBC has received figures.

This compares with 5,025 in 2016 and only 1,800 in 2015.

We really should be applauding this. Choice is a good thing in itself. People now have more choice, that’s a good thing. Those who want EU citizenship can go get it, those who do not want it do not have it imposed upon them. More choice, this is good.

The next most popular citizenship was French, with 12 per cent or 1,518 people, followed by Belgian, with 11 per cent or 1,381.

Think how deluded you’d have to be to voluntarily choose Belgian. Still, this is indeed a good thing. For the greatest freedom and right of all is the right of exit. The ability to simply leave. Yes, we might think that of Brexit itself but that’s not quite the point. Whatever the system, that at an individual level we can up sticks and leave it, is that greatest freedom. Perhaps we don’t like the majority – or given how it usually works, plurality – view of how the country should be run. OK, we can leave. It is exactly this right of exit which tempers the inevitable dictatorship of the majority which is democracy itself.

People are availing themselves of this great freedom, the ability to leave. Good, and good luck to them.

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  1. There’s only 12,000 of them, which is not many. I wish every remainer would consider moving to their little paradise abroad, but they don’t. They stay and moan. They tell us how wonderful the EU is, but they won’t move there. Even the 12,000 don’t plan to leave the UK, they are just taking out insurance against FKW.

  2. This is a great trend, that populations sort themselves out. Britain should be about something. It would be equally great if the American actors and celebrities did likewise, especially following their vow to do so, if the country actually elected President…Bush.

  3. I have long been in favour of people having as many passports as possible in order to engage in regulatory arbitrage (however avoid getting a USA passport at all costs, given that they (in common only with neo-Stalinist Eritrea) have extraterritorial taxation & just love to apply their laws beyond their borders).

    • Worldwide taxation was repudiated in the Trump tax law (though with a small immediate tax for “imputed repatriation of funds” so that Congress would only have to repeal this law to have it Now & Later). As for the other extraterritoriality, yes sir, it is seen as “an alternative to war” to boss other people around. British and European banks generally protect themselves by refusing to do business with Americans at all. The US again shoots itself in the foot, proudly; see the articles on tariffs nearby.

    • Fair point, but the drawback is that there can be no UK protection (for what little that may be worth) from the government of a country of which you are also a citizen – see Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe for an example.

  4. I’m surprised that Germany comes at the top, since this is one of the more difficult EU citizenships to gain. A friend has just done this, but despite having been a prof at a German uni for 20 years, he didn’t find it straightforward. Contrast this with Eire, where if your granny once owned an Irish Setter, sure and you’re in (for just a small consideration).

    I imagine that most of these applications are from people already living as expats in the various countries. Applying for local citizenship is certainly what I’d do in that position, if only as an insurance policy.

  5. What this entire thing fails to capture is people like myself, who having an Irish parent (or even grandparent) are classed as having dual nationality from birth. This is estimated to be about 20% of the UK’s native population.

    Having Irish dual nationality, in and of itself confers little value on the average resident of the UK, but post-BRExit, the ability to fill in a form, pay about €100 to the Dublin Passport Office and obtain an EU passport to retain full rights to live and work in the EU might be worth it.

    So the bigger and perhaps unanswered question is how many Irish Citizens not born in Ireland, but resident in the UK have applied for Irish passports recently? Because I’d bet that number alone probably swamps the figures posted above substantially.

    779,000 Irish passports issued in 2017, the highest number since records began and up 6% on the year before

    That 6% increase in Irish Passport applications would amount to an additional 47,000. Not all attributable to BRExit, but I bet the vast majority, say 30,000 are.