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Citizenship News

EUDO CITIZENSHIP offers a selection of media reports and news summaries on significant legislative changes, court decisions, policy developments, political campaigns or other events concerning citizenship in Europe and beyond.

We welcome suggestions for news items by our users. Proposals including the full text or internet link should be sent to EUDO.Citizenship@eui.eu. The EUDO CITIZENSHIP team will selectively publish news based on their significance and information content. We will not publish items whose content appears to be biased or otherwise problematic.

We will publish news in any European language if an English summary of the content is available.

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Australian High Court rules that dual citizens are ineligible to sit in Parliament

The High Court of Australia ruled that the country’s deputy Prime Minister and four senators were ineligible to sit in Parliament as "subjects or citizen of a foreign power". Two other Australian senators who had inherited foreign citizenship (Italian and British) were not dual citizens, according to the constitutional definition. 

The High Court accepted that a separate section of the Constitution expressly permits Australian citizens with an inherited dual citizenship to become members of parliament and that it was not intended to prevent them from participating in Australia’s system of representative government. In such a case, the person is required to take all the actions (within their power) to renounce his or her foreign citizenship.

Read the Court’s decision here.

Analyses and comments here and here, as well as in our previous blog posts by Graeme Orr and Helen Irving and Elisa Arcioni

For details of present and past citizenship and electoral laws in Australia check out our country pages

 

No dual citizenship in Lithuania without referendum and constitutional change

By Ramutė Ruškytė, GLOBALCIT Lithuania expert

According to the Law on Citizenship, nobody can be a citizen of Lithuania and another country at the same time, except for individual cases stipulated by law. The same regulation is established in Article 12 of the Constitution. Under the Constitution, Article 12 may be amended only by referendum.

On Friday (20 October), following the petition by the Parliament (Seimas) for clarifying whether dual citizenship is possible by law for Lithuanian citizens who left the country for EU and NATO countries after Lithuania regained independence in 1990, the Constitutional Court interpreted the provisions of its two rulings (30 December 2003 and 13 November 2006) and one decision (13 March 2013) previously adopted on issues of citizenship.

The Constitutional Court held that, according to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, as long as Paragraph 2 of Article 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania is not amended by referendum, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania may not establish by means of a law that the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who left the country after the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Lithuania on 11 March 1990 and acquired citizenship of a member state of the EU and/or NATO may be citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and another state at the same time.

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in Lithuania, check out our country profile pages.

New amendments to the law on Romanian citizenship

The Emergency Government Order 65/2017 amending the law on Romanian citizenship came into force on 25 September 2017. The main reason for the modification was to clarify the procedure with regard to the citizenship status of children of persons who acquire or re-acquire Romanian citizenship. Previously, children of persons who became citizens could obtain citizenship together with their parents by having their names listed in the citizenship certificates of their parents. However, due to divergent interpretations of the law, many of these children faced difficulties in obtaining Romanian identity documents because they could not adequately prove their citizenship. The new amendment introduced the obligation to issue separate individual citizenship documents for these children.

The order also clarifies the procedure regarding the acquisition of citizenship by children adopted by Romanian citizen(s). However, it also imposes a new condition, namely that adopted children must reside on the territory of the country in order to acquire citizenship.

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in Romania check out our country profile pages.

Cambodian Ministry of Interior identifies 70,000 ‘improper’ citizens, mostly ethnic Vietnamese

The Ministry of Interior of Cambodia is planning to revoke citizenship of 70,000 individuals, most of whom are ethnic Vietnamese born in Cambodia. To move ahead with the plan, the Minister of Interior held a meeting to discuss the withdrawal of citizenship from foreigners ‘who hold inaccurate documents because they were issued improperly’. Officials who issued such documents are at risk of facing charges. The Minister stated that the problem is at the national level, and is not targeting any particular individual. Many individuals targeted by this plan are at risk of statelessness as they only possess Cambodian citizenship.

Read more here.

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in Vietnam and Cambodia, check out our country profile pages

Dutch Senate vetoes proposal to extend residency requirement naturalisation from 5 to 7 years

By Maarten Vink, GLOBALCIT co-director

The Dutch Senate recently voted on a proposal to increase the residence requirement for naturalisation from the current five to seven years. This proposal was part of the coalition agreement of the outgoing government of the Liberal Conservatives (VVD) and the Labour Party (PvdA).

The proposal had been criticized from the start by the Council of State, parliamentarians and societal groups for lacking a clear motivation. Academic studies referred to in the parliamentary debate also show that a longer period before naturalisation decreases the probability that acquiring citizenship will positively affect the labour market prospects of immigrants. Moreover, the proposal was criticized for violating the spirit of Article 34 of the 1951 Geneva Convention which requires that ‘Contracting States shall as far as possible facilitate the assimilation and naturalization of refugees. They shall in particular make every effort to expedite naturalization proceedings and to reduce as far as possible the charges and costs of such proceedings.’ The proposal did not exempt refugees from the extension of the residence requirement and hence would imply a substantial restriction in terms of access to citizenship for this particularly vulnerable group.

Ultimately the decision by the Senate was determined by a constellation of three political factors. First, already in the Lower House (Tweede Kamer) of the Dutch Parliament the PvdA indicated they only voted in favour of the bill as they were bound by the coalition agreement. In the Dutch context, the coalition agreement especially binds the government parties in the Lower House, but less so in the politically more independent Upper House. Second, after the Dutch elections of March 2017, the VVD-PvdA coalition was already in ‘caretaker’ mode and a new government is expected soon, with the VVD but without the PvdA. After the senators of the PvdA withdrew their support for the bill during the debate on 26 September, when the Senate voted on the bill on Tuesday 3 October 2017, the faith of the bill was in the hands of the small Senior Citizens party (50PLUS). Here the third political factor came in, which was a last-minute effort by the Dutch diaspora, which lobbied against the inclusion of a new residence requirement of 3 years for spouse or registered partners of Dutch citizens (under current law, only 3 years marriage or partnership is required, irrespective of residence in the Netherlands). The 50PLUS senators were, apparently, sensitive to these concerns and when they voted against there was no longer a parliamentary majority to support the proposal and the bill was rejected.

More information (in Dutch) about the bill can be found on the website of the Dutch Senate.

Two blog posts (here and here, both in Dutch) provide further context, refer to academic research that featured in the parliamentary debate and provide further references for research on the relation between (the speed of) naturalisation and immigrant integration.