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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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5,411 persons reported renouncing American citizenship in 2016

According to the US Treasury department, a total of 5,411 people renounced their American citizenship in 2016, including the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. This is a record number of nationality renunciations in the US, and is 26% higher than the next highest annual total that followed the enacting of a disclosure law in the 1990s.

Check out the overview of US citizenship renunciation statistics here, and details of Johnson’s case here.

For details of present and past citizenship legislation in the US, check out our country profile pages.

Finland to re-evaluate its dual citizenship policy

The President of Finland Sauli Niinistö proposed that the country reconsidered its dual citizenship policy introduced in 2003. The President maintains that the situation has changed since the introduction of the policy, originally aimed at integrating the Finns returning from Sweden. As an argument for moving towards a restrictive citizenship policy, Niinistö cited practices of other countries, such as Russia and Germany, which allow dual nationality only in exceptional circumstances.

The Finnish Ministry of Defence is drafting legislation pursuant to which only Finnish citizens could be employed in this institution, and exceptions would be granted only when necessary. The Ministry cited security concerns as the reason behind the policy.

The country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry stated that while dual nationality does not represent a problem for employment, in some cases, hiring a third country national might represent a risk. 

Read more on President Niinistö’s proposal, the press release of the Ministry of Defence, and the press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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

Upcoming referendum on the facilitated naturalisation of 3rd generation foreign youth in Switzerland

On 12 February 2017, the Swiss electorate will be called to the polls to vote in a referendum on a legislation aiming at facilitating access to citizenship for so-called ‘third generation’ foreign youth, that is the grandsons and granddaughters of immigrants. The virtual absence of a ius soli element in Swiss nationality law together with the exceptionally high hurdles to ‘ordinary naturalisation’ in a country where 25 percent of the resident population does not hold citizenship, considerably increase the stakes of the reform. In the run up to the referendum, the nccr on-the-move, a large research centre based at the University of Neuchâtel and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, has launched a Special Edition Blog, providing empirically informed analysis of the context, content and likely consequences of the reform in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.

Learn more about nationality law in Switzerland on our country profile page.

Read the contributions to the blog (in French, English and German).

Political scientists reject Trump’s claim that millions of non-citizens voted in the U.S. elections in 2016

Political scientists have written an open letter in which they reject Donald Trump’s claim that millions of non-citizens voted in the November 2016 presidential elections. To support the claim, the U.S. President has cited a 2014 article by Jesse Richman, Gulshan Chattha, and David Earnest, published in Electoral Studies. In the article, Richman et al. claimed that the number of non-citizen voters could range "from just over 38,000 at the very minimum to nearly 2.8 million at the maximum”. The claim was based on information on the respondents’ citizenship status from the 2008 and 2010 large scale Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES).  It subsequently served to share President Trump’s rhetoric on the non-citizen votes. The authors of the paper reject the U.S. President’s  interpretation of their analysis.

In a 2015 critique to the article, Stephen Ansolabehere, Samantha Luks, and Brian Schaffner demonstrated that the most likely explanation for almost all of the supposed non-citizen votes is response error. 

Read the open letter, and news on this issue, including a NYT piece on how illegal voting (by a green card holder) might happen and why it is so unlikely. 

Access the original article in Electoral Studies, the critique in same journal and the rebuttal by the original authors.

For details of current and past electoral legislation in the United States check out our country profiles and access our qualitative database and quantitative indicators.  

European Commission publishes its 2017 EU Citizenship report

The European Commission has published its third EU Citizenship Report, focusing on the progress in the exercise of EU citizenship rights since 2014 and presenting actions aimed at enhancing citizens’ awareness on how to fully enjoy these rights. 

The report notes that most Europeans are aware of their right to live and work in other EU Member States. However, they are not fully aware of the mechanisms for exercising their right to vote in European and local elections. EU citizens are also commonly not aware  of their right to consular protection from other Member States' embassies. To enhance the knowledge and understanding of these issues among EU citizens, the Commission will undertake a number of awareness-raising issues.

See the Press Release for more details, and check out the summary and full text of the 2017 EU Citizenship report. 

Other useful documents include Factsheets on Commission actions in the field of EU citizenship 2013-2016 and on 2015 Public Consultation on EU citizenship, Technical report on the legislative developments and jurisprudence on EU citizenship (Article 25), EU Citizenship programme, and 2015 surveys on electoral rights and citizenship.