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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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The Supreme Court will not consider reinstating the North Carolina voting law that discriminates against African Americans

The Supreme Court of the U.S. will not review the decision that found that the 2013 North Carolina voting law discriminated against African American voters. In 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that the law, introduced by the Republican-led legislature, was intended to blunt the influence of African American voters.

Read more here and in our report Access to Electoral Rights: United States.

For details of current and past electoral legislation in the United States check out our country profile pages.

Federal Court rules: ‘Independent’ hearing required before stripping Canadian citizenship

On 10 May, the Federal Court  ruled that citizens are entitled to a fair hearing by an independent decision-maker before they are deprived of their citizenship. The judge ruled that eight people who had been stripped of their Canadian citizenship would have it restored. 

Canadian legislation allows the deprivation of citizenship on grounds of fraud since 1947. Under the Harper conservative government, the powers to strip individuals of their Canadian citizenship was transferred from the Governor in Council to immigration officials. This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of citizenship deprivation cases (167 from 1988 to 2015; 235 since 2015).

Read more here.

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

GLOBALCIT at the State of the Union, 4-5 May 2017

The GLOBALCIT team took part at the State of the Union conference, organised by the European University Institute (EUI). The State of the Union is an annual event for high-level reflection on the European Union (EU), and this year’s event revolved around the theme of European Citizenship, a multi-faceted topic of acute relevance across all EU member states.

On 4 May, two GLOBALCIT co-directors (Rainer Bauböck  and Maarten Vink) and co-ordinator (Jelena Dzankic) discussed the changing nature of the notion of genuine links and the instrumentalisation of passports. The panel examinedwhether states and individuals regard citizenship as a mere tool rather than as a value in itself: the proliferation of multiple nationalities; citizenship programmes for non-resident investors; worldwide access to EU passports for those with the ‘right ancestry’; and stripping terrorist suspects of their citizenship in order to ‘dump’ them on other countries. In doing so, the speakers explored whether citizenship is bound to decline in the 21st century.

On 5 May, Rainer Bauböck gave the State of the Union Address entitled “Still United in Diversity?”. In his speech, Bauböck  reflected on the balance between rights and duties of European citizenship, and noted that ‘[m]aintaining unity in spite of such deep diversity cannot be achieved through a citizenship that has so little weight that it can be easily carried across borders, but that has so little substance that those who stay put do not feel it”. He added that “[i]n order to keep an internally differentiated Union united, European citizenship needs to be enriched with a social dimension and substantive duties.”

Furthermore, Jo Shaw (GLOBALCIT co-director) spoke in the afternoon panel on 5 May. In the panel entitled “EU Citizens' Rights: a Priority for the Negotiations with the UK”, Shaw highlighted the importance of rights in the cases of state disintegrations. She emphasised that, if the process of the UK’s exit from the European Union is not adequately managed, it could lead to the greatest deprivation of individual rights after the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

 

The video of the panel “Genuine Links and Useful Passports: A Decline of Citizenship?”, 4 May 2017, is available here.

The video of Rainer Bauböck’s State of the Union Address ‘Still United in Diversity?’, 5 May 2017, is available here, and the text version here.

The video of the “EU Citizens' Rights: a Priority for the Negotiations with the UK” panel and Jo Shaw’s contribution is available here.

Australia plans to amend its citizenship law

The government of Australia is planning to amend its citizenship law and introduce additional requirements for naturalisation. The proposed amendments would require applicants to be permanent residents in Australia for four years and to pass a new English language test.

Read the Australian government’s discussion paper and an analysis in the Guardian.

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

 

The Council of State of the Netherlands sends a preliminary ruling request to the CJEU

By David de Groot, GLOBALCIT collaborator

On 19 April, the Council of State sent a case for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union. It concerns the automatic loss of the Dutch nationality (thus including EU citizenship) if one is residing abroad for 10 years and has next to the Dutch nationality also another nationality (one is considering extending this period to 15 years due to the fact that the Dutch passport nowadays has an expiry period of 10 years instead of 5 years). This rule does not apply to residence abroad in another EU MS.   

The question referred is the following:

Must Artt. 20 and 21 TFEU, in the light of Art. 7 Charter, be interpreted, due to the absence of an individual assessment in light of the principle of proportionality with regard to the consequences of the loss of nationality for the situation of the person concerned from the point of view of Union law, precludes legislation, such as those at issue in this main proceedings, which determine that:

a.An adult who is also a national of a third country loses the nationality of his or her Member State and hence the citizenship of the Union, because he has his principal residence for a continuous period of ten years abroad and outside the European Union, while there are possibilities to stop this ten-year period?

b.Under certain circumstances, a minor loses the nationality of his Member State and, consequently, the citizenship of the Union, as a result of the loss of the nationality of the parent as mentioned under a.

Two of the applicants live in Switzerland and although they also have the Swiss nationality, taking away the EU citizenship would also have consequences for their derived rights concerning family reunification under the Bilateral Treaties. Art. 15(1)(c) RWN, like stated before, states that residence abroad in another EU MS does not apply to this rule, but does not extend this to the Bilateral Treaties with Switzerland. One might want to take this into consideration concerning any future relationship with the UK. 

 Other Member States with similar provisions are:

•Belgium 22(1)(5) and 22(3) (lapse, born abroad and lived abroad between the age of 18 and 28) 

•Cyprus 113(4) (withdrawal, person has naturalised and 7 years abroad)

•Denmark 8 (lapse, age 22 and never lived in Denmark or 7 years in Nordic countries)

•Finland 34 (lapse, age 22. Idem DK)

•France 23-6 (withdrawal)

•Ireland 19(1)(c) (withdrawal, person was naturalised in IE and 7 years abroad)

•Malta 14(2)(d) (withdrawal, idem. IE)

•Spain 24(3) (lapse, age 21, born and always resided abroad) 

•Sweden 14(1) and 17 (lapse, idem DK)

Read the Press release (in Dutch), the full case (in Dutch), and the case reference to the CJEU (in English).

For details of current and past citizenship law in the Netherlands check out our country profile pages.

See also: J. Shaw (ed.) (2011), ‘Has the European Court of Justice Challenged Member State Sovereignty in Nationality Law?’, EUI Working Papers RSCAS 2011/62, Florence.