EU Referendum

Reality Check: Did 750,000 people gain the right to come to the UK last year?

Matthew Elliott: The number of people coming to the EU is increasing each year.

The claim: 750,000 people gained citizenship in other EU countries last year, giving them the right to come to the UK. This figure has been increasing every year.

Reality Check verdict: 750,000 is actually a slight understatement. 763,500 people were made citizens of other EU countries and have an automatic right to come to the UK because of EU freedom of movement rules. The figure has not been increasing every year.

Chart showing people granted citizenship of EU member states 2009-14

Eurostat released figures on Monday showing the number of people granted citizenship by EU members in 2014.

The release from the European statistical body (the EU equivalent of the Office for National Statistics) said that the number of people given citizenship across the whole of the EU was 889,100, down from 981,000 the previous year.

Vote Leave sent out a press release saying: "Three-quarters of a million people gained the right to come to UK in the last year."

The three-quarters of a million figure is for the EU (889,100) excluding the UK (125,600), which came to 763,500.

It makes sense to exclude the UK, because people granted UK citizenship have the right to be in the UK because they are UK citizens.

Citizens of other EU countries also have the right to live and work in the UK (unless they pose a current threat to the country) as part of the EU's freedom of movement rules, so Vote Leave are right to say that anyone who gained citizenship of another EU country also gained the right to come to the UK.

Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott went on to say: "The number of people coming to the EU is increasing each year."

Both the figure for the EU and for the EU excluding the UK are down from the previous year. Both figures also fell in 2011, although the totals for 2014 are considerably higher than they were in 2009.

The UK granted citizenship to more people than any other EU member state every year from 2009 to 2012. It was number two in 2013 and number three in 2014.

To put the figures into context, the population of the EU at the start of 2015 was 508.2 million, up from 506.9 million a year earlier.


Read more: The facts behind claims in the EU debate


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