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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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Lithuania: validity of the Provisional Law on Citizenship extended till July 1, 2010

The validity of the current Lithuanian Provisional Law on Citizenship was extended until July 1, 2010 in response to the failure of the Lithuanian unicameral Parliament, known as Seimas, to adopt a new Law on Citizenship by the end of 2009.

The current Law on Citizenship was to be effective until 1 January 2010, to be then replaced by a new Law on Citizenship. By the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amendment of Article 3 of the Law on Amending of the Law on Citizenship, of 1 December 2009, No. XI-508 (Official Gazette, 2009, 147-6551), the Seimas extended the validity of the current Provisional Law on Citizenship until 1 July 2010.

Read the Lithuania country report.

Italy: Chamber of Deputies backtracks on reform of Italian citizenship law

On December 14th, the new citizenship bill was drastically amended by the Constitutional Committee of the Chamber of Deputies following proposals by Isabella Bertolini, an MP of Berlusconi’s party Popolo delle Libertà (see). The most interesting aspect is that the new text is now even more restrictive than the present law, which was adopted in 1992 . The amended bill abandons all the innovative features of the Sarubbi-Granata bill (strengthening of ius soli and shortening of residence period for naturalisation) but keeps the integration and language requirements for naturalisation, in addition to introducing new conditions (e.g. the possession of an EU long-term-residence permit for the naturalisation of third country nationals or the requirement for second generations born in Italy to have successfully completed compulsory education recognised by the Italian state in order to access citizenship at age 18).

A plenary discussion of the new bill was scheduled for December 21 and 22 but has been postponed. Papers report that the discussion will continue only after regional elections in March 2010 (read a report in La Repubblica and see Isabella Bertolini’s homepage).

 

UPDATE: On January 12, 2010 the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies decided to send back for revision the bill on the reform of citizenship law to the Constitutional Affairs (CA) Committee. The text to be modified was adopted in December by the CA Committee following MP Isabella Bertolini's restrictive proposals on ius soli acquisition and naturalization. The CA Committee is now expected to come up with a new text in April.

 

Read a commentary by EUDO Citizenship expert Giovanna Zincone in La Stampa, 2 January 2010.

Read the 23 October 2009 EUDO Citizenship report about the Sarubbi-Granata bill.

Go to Italian country profile on EUDO Citizenship.

 

European Court of Human Rights rules against Bosnia and Herzegovina in a case alleging racial and ethnic discrimination in relation to voting rules

On 22 December 2009, the European Court of Human Rights decided in favour of applications brought by members of the Roma and the Jewish communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, alleging racial and ethnic discrimination because the rules of the post-Dayton Bosnian Constitution and the Election Act 2001 prevented them from standing for election to the House of Peoples and to the (collective) State Presidency. Rules which undermined the formal political equality of all citizens in Bosnia were agreed as part of the Dayton Agreement which brought the hostilities in Bosnia to an end in 1995. These provided for ethnic power-sharing in Bosnia’s state institutions, allowing participation only by self-declared members of the three constituent peoples – Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs – leaving out of account the other national and ethnic minorities such as the Roma and the Jews. The rules also adversely affect the electoral rights of members of the constituent peoples resident outside the area in which they are dominant, e.g. Serbs resident in the Bosniac/Croat entity. This lack of political equality has been one of the dominant features of the post-Dayton Bosnia, where constitutional reform has been slow to occur because of the entrenched positions of the veto players in each community. It is hoped that the Court’s judgment, the first on the free standing anti-discrimination rights enshrined in Protocol 12 to the Convention, will break the logjam of constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina and contribute to a broader renewal of the politically problematic ethnic elements of the post-Dayton settlement.


Although political participation rights as such lie outwith the main focus of the EUDO-Citizenship Observatory, the case is of interest in a citizenship context because political participation rights represent one of the main dimensions of the legal bond between citizen and state.

 

Read more:

Press Release of the European Court of Human Rights in Finci and Sejdić v. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Blog post by Marko Milanovic on the European Journal of International Law blog discussing the judgment

Press release from the Minority Rights Group International which was one of a number of INGOs responsible for bringing the case before the European Court of Human Rights

New statistical data on dual citizens in the Netherlands

From:
Statistics Netherlands

15 December 2009

by Han Nicolaas


On 1 January 2009, just over 1.1 million people in the Netherlands had at least one other nationality alongside the Dutch nationality. This is nearly three times the number on 1 January 1995. Nearly half of Dutch people with more than one nationality also have the Turkish or Moroccan nationality.

Increase mainly through naturalisation
The strong rise in the number of Dutch people with more than one nationality was caused by the large number of naturalisations, especially in the second half of the 1990s. Between 1 January 1992 and 1 October 1997 people who were granted the Dutch nationality were permitted to retain their original nationality, and most people naturalised in this period did so.

Since 1 October 1997 people are allowed to have only one nationality, but there are many exceptions to this rule, for example for underage children. As a result of these exceptions, nearly four out of five persons naturalised in 1998-2008 were also permitted to keep their original nationality.

Increase since 2003 mainly through births
Children with a parent who has another nationality alongside the Dutch nationality also have two nationalities at birth. Since 2003, the number of Dutch people with a dual nationality has mainly increased through this regulation. In 2008 22 thousand children had dual nationality at birth. Another 5 thousand persons were granted Dutch nationality alongside their original nationality via an option or through adoption.

Most second generation immigrants have dual nationality

Just over 80 percent of second generation Turks and Moroccans living in the Netherlands also have the Dutch nationality. For the first generation this is around 60 percent. Very few Turks and Moroccans have only the Dutch nationality.

 

Click here to access the Netherlands country profile.

'External vote' decisive in Romanian elections

by EUDO CITIZENSHIP expert Costica Dumbrava

Traian Basescu won the second round of the Romanian 2009 presidential election by a margin of 71.000 votes after receiving 115.831 of the votes cast abroad (78.86 percent of the total). The support for Basescu was overwhelming in the Republic of Moldova, where he received 94.8 percent of the votes cast (around 10.000 preferences). This outcome demonstrates the political consequences of recent administrative efforts to speed up the process of granting Romanian citizenship to 'former citizens' from Moldova (see our recent EUDO CITIZENSHIP news report 'Romania: former citizens, new citizens, new votes?'). The election results have triggered strong political reactions, with some political actors already calling for measures to downsize the weight of the 'external votes'.

 

Read the news reports in English and Romanian:

'Romania's presidential election. Against all odds', The Economist


'Rezultate finale : Băsescu câştigă cu 71 de mii de voturi', Inpactnews.ro


'UPDATE: Votul diasporei', Hotnews.ro