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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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Austria changes its Nationality Law

by EUDO CITIZENSHIP Expert Dilek Çinar

In October 2009, the Austrian Parliament approved a bill amending the Asylum Law, the Aliens’ Police Law, the Settlement Law as well as the Nationality Law. The new regulations have entered into force on January 1, 2010. The most significant changes are as follows:

• Requirement of sufficient income: Acquisition of Austrian nationality depends on proof of regular and sufficient income. In addition, applicants must not have received social welfare assistance for the last three years preceding the application for naturalisation. Since 2010, regular expenditures for rent, loan repayment, garnishment or alimony payment have to be taken into account when calculating an applicant’s income level. Thus, the amendment raises the level of disposable personal income necessary for naturalisation.


Germany signs convention on statelessness

On December 16, 2009, Germany signed the Council of Europe Convention on the avoidance of statelessness in relation to State succession (CETS No.: 200). Germany is the 7th State to sign the Convention. Being ratified by only three member States, the Convention entered into force on May 1, 2009.

Click here for the full text of the Convention.

Bulgaria: 2,000 applications for Bulgarian citizenship approved in January 2010

By Costica Dumbrava

2,000 applications for Bulgarian citizenship of foreign citizens belonging to the Bulgarian diaspora were approved in January 2010 only. This figure has recently been reported by the Bulgarian Minister for Bulgarians abroad Bozhidar Dimitrov. Dimitrov, who holds a ministry without portfolio, had pushed for procedural simplifications in order to facilitate the acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship by the historical diaspora.

According to Dimitrov, this policy aims at bringing all Bulgarians together. It is inspired by the willingness to pay back “historical debts”, and to solve the “biggest problem in this country: its demographic crisis”.


France refuses naturalisation to the husband of a veiled woman

By EUDO CITIZENSHIP expert Christophe Bertossi


The French minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Solidarity Development, Eric Besson, has made public his decision of refusing by decree the naturalisation of a man married to a woman who is wearing an Islamic veil covering her entire body. Eric Besson argued that the police inquiry and the naturalisation interview had demonstrated that 'this man imposes on his wife the wearing of the "full Islamic veil", prevents her from circulating freely without covering her face, and rejects the principles of laïcité and of gender equality'. According to the national daily newspaper Le Figaro, this is a Moroccan national married to a French woman and is affiliated to the Tabligh movement.


After the publication on 26 Januray 2010 of the final report of the parliamentary information commission on the full Islamic veil in France, leading politicians have advocated the idea of refusing French nationality to women wearing such a veil. This debate about the "burqa" (i.e. the full body veil, which is usually not a burqa but a niqab) fits a broader public debate on French national identity, launched by the Ministry of Immigration at the end of 2009 and which has mostly focused on the relationship between Islam, gender equality, and religious symbols in the public sphere.


There is earlier jurisprudence on this matter: the naturalisation of a woman wearing the niqab was refused in 2008 (Conseil d'Etat, 27 June 2008, Mme Mabchour, n°286798). However, the Conseil d'Etat had decided earlier that the naturalisation of a man whose wife wore an Islamic veil could not be refused because this did not constitute a "lack of assimilation" (Conseil d'Etat, 19 November 1997, Ben Halima, n°169368).

Read the BBC report "France refuses a citizenship over full Islamic veil" (February 3, 2010)

Read the article "France Denies Citizenship to Man With Veiled Wife" by The New York Times (February 4, 2010)

Italy: dual citizenship for German speakers in South Tyrol?

In December 2009, the Italian regional party Südtiroler Volkspartei (SVP) proposed to give dual Austrian-Italian citizenship to German speakers resident in the Northern Italian province of South Tyrol/Alto Adige, historically home to a predominantly German-speaking population. Austria has in the past acted as a protector of this linguistic minority and has been involved in negotiating an 1992 autonomy pact for South Tyrol that resolved an international dispute between Austria and Italy. Austria has so far, however, never offered Austrian citizenship to German speaking South Tyroleans.