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Citizenship Blog

About the Blog

Our Citizenship Blog invites contributions and comments on recent policy reforms, court judgments or public debates related to citizenship status and access to voting rights, in one or several countries covered by the EUDO CITIZENSHIP Observatory. Our aim is to provide a forum in which current issues related to nationality and the electoral franchise can be disseminated and discussed in a spirit of critical intellectual inquiry.

Note to contributors

We invite comments that do not exceed 2000 words, that are written in a style that is accessible to a wider audience and that are submitted under the author’s real name. We also encourage responses to recently published blogs. We reserve the right to decline contributions that do not correspond to our current priorities. We will not publish comments that we find irrelevant, factually wrong or offensive. All comments are carefully reviewed prior to publication.

Contributions to the Citizenship Blog should be submitted via email to eudo.citizenship@eui.eu.


When the right to vote and the right to run for political office do not coincide

By GLOBALCIT collaborator Nenad Stojanovic

Ignazio Cassis’ renunciation of his Italian citizenship has re-launched the debate on the meaning of political rights – and, in particular, the right to run for political office – in Switzerland. According to Cassis, his decision was necessary – politically, although not legally – in order to be elected to the Federal Council. At the same time, Cassis did not see dual citizenship as an obstacle to vote or to run as a candidate to the Federal Parliament. This episode shows that the right to vote and the right to run for political office are not necessarily aligned. 

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Can Elected Politicians Have Two Passports?

By GLOBALCIT collaborator Lorenzo Piccoli

On Wednesday, 1 November, Ignazio Cassis formally replaces outgoing federal councilor Didier Burkhalter as the seventh member of the Federal Council of Switzerland. Born to Italian parents in the Swiss canton of Ticino, Cassis gave up his Italian citizenship just weeks before being elected. His decision sparked a heated debate on whether elected politicians should surrender their foreign passports and renounce their dual citizenship, once elected to a post. In Switzerland, there is no legal obligation to do so. 

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Form over substance? Foreign citizenship and the Australian Parliament

By GLOBALCIT collaborators Elisa Arcioni and Helen Irving

As foreshadowed in our earlier post, the High Court of Australia has now delivered its judgment in a case concerning the eligibility of dual nationals to serve in the Australian parliament. At issue was section 44(i) of Australia’s Constitution which renders ineligible any person who (in addition to being an Australian citizen) is a citizen of a ‘foreign power’.

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In Defence of National Identity: The Dual Citizenship Debates in Singapore

By GLOBALCIT expert Choo Chin Low

As reported by Singapore media (Straits Times) on 8 October 2017, the country celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Singapore citizenship through the 1957 Singapore Citizenship Ordinance. The ordinance was significant because it laid the foundation of the single citizenship regime in the country, which has remained in force in contemporary Singapore.

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Review of K. Rubenstein, Australian Citizenship Law, Lawbook Company of Australia/Thomson Reuters, Sydney, 2017 (2nd edition).

By GLOBALCIT co-director Jo Shaw

The story of the Australian citizenship regime – told fully and eloquently in the second edition of Kim Rubenstein’s book Australian Citizenship Law – offers an intriguing insight into how citizenship regimes emerge and evolve in the case of new states, and then reach maturity over decades of intense contestation between different political and legal actors across a federal state.

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Revoking the nationality of convicted jihadists in the Netherlands: an issue of double jeopardy?

By GLOBALCIT collaborator Tom Boekstein

As reported by Dutch media on the 22nd of August, the Dutch Minister for Security and Justice is about to apply the provisions on reactive expatriation for the first time to an individual convicted of a terrorist offence in the Netherlands. Under article 14(2)(b) of the Dutch Nationality Act, the individual will consequently lose his Dutch Citizenship and be expelled from the country and lose his right to return. 

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Dual Citizen MPs in Australia’s National Parliament – the Barriers Bite

By GLOBALCIT Australia expert Graeme Orr

Under the Australian Constitution, a dual citizen of - or anyone with allegiance to - a ‘foreign power’ is not qualified to be elected to or sit in the national parliament.  This provision, which has caused some inconvenience to candidates and MPs in the past, has erupted in 2017.  At the time of writing, five current MPs have been referred to the High Court of Australia for breach of the provision, with two more references anticipated and potentially more to be uncovered.

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Dual citizenship and eligibility to serve as a member of Parliament – the evolving story in Australia

By GLOBALCIT collaborators Elisa Arcioni and Helen Irving

A recent drama concerning the citizenship status of seven members of the Australian Parliament has drawn attention to the complex legal landscape surrounding multiple nationality, as well as the specific meaning of a provision of the Australian Constitution that governs eligibility to stand for, or serve in, the Australian Parliament. 


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Citizenship after Trump

By GLOBALCIT expert Peter Spiro

The advent of the Trump Administration has obviously disrupted immigration policy in the United States. We are in for a wild and (if the first months are any guide) scary ride through the next four years, more so with respect to immigration than perhaps any other policy sphere. Although Trump’s unpredictability and lack of core ideological principle supply some slight possibility of immigration reform on a Nixon-in-China model, the early returns are not promising. 


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Loss of Dutch nationality ex lege: EU law, gender and multiple nationality

By GLOBALCIT contributors Betty de Hart and Sandra Mantu

On 19 April 2017, the Dutch Council of State made a reference to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concerning the compatibility with EU law of the provisions of the Dutch Nationality Act (DNA) that regulate automatic loss of Dutch nationality in case of dual nationals habitually resident abroad for more than ten years.  In this note we highlight the EU law, gender and dual nationality aspects of the case. 


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Amendments to the Canadian Citizenship Act. The short life of reactive expatriation under Canadian Citizenship Law

By GLOBALCIT collaborator Tom Boekestein

On June 19, Bill C-6, a long-awaited piece of legislation introduced shortly after the Liberals won the Canadian Elections in 2015, received Royal Assent and entered into force. It reverts some of the most controversial changes introduced to the Canadian Citizenship Act 1981 by the former Conservative Government in 2014.


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Theresa May’s Other Citizens of Nowhere

By GLOBALCIT collaborator Jan-Werner Mueller

British Prime Minister Theresa May has, of her own volition, stripped her Conservative Party of its governing parliamentary majority by calling an early election. If she stays on as prime minister, she will also strip British citizens of the political and economic rights conferred by membership in the European Union. But May’s habit of stripping away people’s rights and powers is not new: for years, she has been normalizing the practice of stripping certain Britons of their citizenship altogether, even at the risk of rendering them stateless “citizens of nowhere.”


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There’s more to European citizenship than free movement

By GLOBALCIT co-director Rainer Bauböck

When freedom of movement was written into the Treaties, the hope was that citizens would become more mobile and, in turn, more European. But instead of uniting Europeans, free movement has become politically divisive.

 In the sovereign debt crisis, strongly diverging interests emerged between creditor and debtor states. In the refugee crisis, we have seen similarly deep divides between frontline, transit, destination and bystander countries... 


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Britons are applying for Irish citizenship to get an EU passport. Is this a problem?

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP/GLOBALCIT Consortium Member Iseult Honohan

Since the Brexit vote, many British citizens have sought citizenship in other EU member states – notably Ireland – on the basis of ancestry or other provisions, often without any intention of living there.  Should we welcome this development? Or is it problematic that people can claim citizenship on the basis of ancestry, especially if large numbers do so? Iseult Honohan argues that while extending the right to citizenship down multiple generations is a questionable step, problems will only really arise if citizens who have never lived in the country are given equal voting power.

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The outcome of Italy’s referendum may be decided in Castelnuovo di Porto

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP collaborator Lorenzo Piccoli

Many Italian citizens living outside the country will have the opportunity to vote in the constitutional referendum on 4 December. But what impact could these votes have in shaping the result? Lorenzo Piccoli highlights that with voters outside Italy accounting for around 8 per cent of the electorate, the count at the Civil Protection Centre in Castelnuovo di Porto, where the expatriate ballots are delivered, could be crucial in determining the outcome. 

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Beyond Brexit: Scotland could be given a special status on immigration

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP co-director Jo Shaw

The free movement of people played an important role in the EU referendum campaign and it has been widely discussed as an aspect of the future negotiation package during the months since then. From an EU law perspective, it is part of the package of ‘four freedoms’ that make up the single market: goods, services, capital and people.


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Universal suffrage for Brussels? Why foreigners need to be given the vote at regional elections and how this can be achieved.

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP collaborator Philippe Van Parijs

Isn’t it about time that universal suffrage was introduced in Brussels? Don’t we already have it? We don’t. Here are the facts.

Over a third of the Brussels population is disenfranchised

Very roughly, the population of the Brussels-Capital region, one of the three regions of the Belgian federal 

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Biao v. Denmark: Discrimination among nationals

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP expert Eva Ersbøll

On 24 May 2016, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued the Biao judgment about discrimination among nationals in family reunion matters. The court ruled (with 12 votes against 5) that there had been a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) article 14 read in conjunction with article 8.  

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Exclusion of whistleblowers, conflicting eligibility rules and strategic naturalisations – why it is time to change Olympic eligibility rules now

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP collaborator Anna Sabrina Wollmann

In these last days before the Rio Olympics opening ceremony, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and its ad hoc divisions are faced with an immense workload, dealing with matters ranging from alleged doping to issues of nationality.  

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Why citizenship (still) matters in France

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP collaborator Emile Chabal

In the wake of the November 13 terrorist attack, French president François Hollande decided to reinforce France’s security legislation. In addition to a raft of police and intelligence measures, he proposed two major constitutional revisions: the first was to “constitutionalize” the state of emergency, previously an ad hoc piece of legislation; the second was to formalize the conditions under which French citizens can be stripped of their nationality.

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Prisoner voting: now a matter of EU law

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP co-director Jo Shaw

Article 39(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights provides: 

‘Members of the European Parliament shall be elected by direct universal suffrage in a free and secret ballot.’ 

In its brief and rather low key judgment in Delvigne (Case C-650/13; ECLI:EU:C:2015:648), which was handed down on 6 October 2015, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice has put flesh on the bones of this provision.

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The ‘Brexit’ Referendum: We Need to Talk about the (General Election) Franchise

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP collaborator Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler

In its 27 May 2015 Queen’s speech, the Conservative government announced that ‘early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in/out referendum’. The following day, it introduced the European Union Referendum Bill, which passed its third reading in the House of Commons on 7 September 2015 (by 316 votes to 53).

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Banishment, Australian style

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP collaborators Helen Irving and Rayner Thwaites

Motivated by the emergence of “home-grown” terrorism and the prospect that Australian citizens joining terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq may return to Australia, the Australian government (like many others) is seeking greater powers to revoke citizenship. 

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Welcome to E-stonia! E-residence and Citizenship in an Electronic Republic

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP expert Costica Dumbrava

In 2014 Estonia launched an e-residence scheme through which non-resident foreigners could obtain an Estonian digital identity card. The digital card allows people to access a series of digital services such as enabling them to create and use electronic signatures, launch and manage companies, do online banking

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The EU Referendum: Who should vote?

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP co-director Jo Shaw

The question of who votes in what elections is usually thought to be a rather nerdy and obscure question, and it doesn’t often capture the public imagination. So it was quite something to see an announcement from Number 10 in advance of the publication of the EU Referendum Bill telling us what the franchise is going to be in the referendum trending as ‘most popular’ and as a ‘top story’ on the BBC News website

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The Facebook test of Romanian citizenship

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP expert Costica Dumbrava

The next day after acquiring Romanian citizenship, Irina Tarasiuc – a singer from the Republic of Moldova – wrote on the social network Facebook: “For me the Romanian passport only stands for a visa, and not for citizenship. It is just an instrument for being mobile. I am Moldovan.” Tarasiuc acquired Romanian citizenship through a facilitated

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