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Greens to push dual citizenship issue
Photo: DPA

Greens to push dual citizenship issue

Published: 25 Feb 2013 12:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Feb 2013 12:20 GMT+01:00

The German opposition is pushing for a law allowing people from Turkish and other non-EU backgrounds dual citizenship - as Turkish Prime Minister demanded Chancellor Angela Merkel give up her resistance to the idea.

Under current rules introduced in 2000, people born to a non-European Union family are allowed dual citizenships only as children. They must chose between nationalities before their 23rd birthday - or automatically lose their German passport.

“We've been demanding for a long time that this forced choice be abolished and we'll be bringing an initiative in the Bundesrat [upper house of parliament] to that effect,” Renate Künast, head of the Green party parliamentary fraction told Die Welt newspaper on Monday.

Künast said the obligatory choice at the age of 23 was unreasonable and a tough test of loyalty for young people from non-European immigrant backgrounds. The rule does not apply to children who have a parent from an EU country - they can retain dual citizenship.

“Dual citizenship is an expression of the diversity and openness of our society,” said Künast, suggesting Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was behind the times with its opposition to non-EU dual citizenship.

“To deny that only shows how backward-looking the thinking of the CDU is," she said.

The initiative appears to be a clever bit of political manoeuvring by the opposition, which is keen to exploit its newly-won upper house majority and give Chancellor Angela Merkel as many headaches as possible in the five months to go before the general election.

Künast's comments on dual citizenship came on the second day of Merkel's state visit to Turkey, where Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded the Chancellor abandon her opposition to dual citizenship.

The Greens' move also comes less than a week after the governing junior coalition partner the Free Democrats (FDP) catapulted the topic back into the headlines when Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger called for a change in the law.

By inserting the issue straight into the Bundesrat, the Green party and their allies the Social Democrats (SPD) could force the FDP to break ranks with their CDU coalition partner and support the initiative.

The path through the upper house is another way of getting the lower house Bundestag to address an issue. If the SPD, Greens and the Left party use their opposition majority to pass an initiative in the Bundesrat, it will automatically pass to the lower house for discussion.

DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:48 February 25, 2013 by pepsionice
You simply open up the door to tax madness....to which country do you pay taxes to? The Germans will grin and say them. The Turks will say themselves. Why even bother saying citizenship to two countries? Why not have a passport to sixteen different countries?
13:59 February 25, 2013 by Steve1949
If there should ever be another party to be banned from politics it should definitely be the Green Party. They never come up with any ideas that are worth anything.
14:06 February 25, 2013 by adam.müller
by law, 2000, people born to a non-European Union are NOT allowed dual citizenship BUT the rule does not apply to children who have a parent from an EU country.

so how these dual citizens are more loyal to Germany than people forced to have one one citizenship?

The fact is, Turkey is a booming economy with Increased +8.49 % growth of total GDP $1.288 Trillion. Our growth is 0.9% (2012 estimate). Turkey has gained great economic social and political influence all over the world in the last 10 years and its increasing.

We will be looking for Jobs in Turkey in next 10 years. There is the reason that we have "suddenly" felt close to Turkey and want to open dual citizenship. We need them more than they need us.
14:27 February 25, 2013 by Tatsiana
I hope this will soon come to action.

No one should be forced to choose between their heritage and their present life. I lived 25 years of my life in my motherland, my parents live there, and they will always be a part of me, even after 50 years in Germany. Not to mention that having German passport alone is simply economically not worth for me: if I give up my nationality, I'll have to pay 100 euro for a visa to visit my parents. And I go for a visit 3 - 4 times a year.

However, this strange factor, that I cannot get a full rights in this country no matter how long I live here, make me consider moving somewhere, where people are more open for diversity, like US or UK. And I am what they call "highly skilled worked", who Germany needs so desperately.

I''ve also met many software developers that prefer to work in France just because they can have eu passport and keep their passport too.

I think if Germany wants to attract more skilled professionals, they should think that many immigrants would prefer to go to the country where they can have rights as other citizens, but at the same time keep their ability to visit their family regardless of visa. Because if you ask me - getting visa to see your home is just way too much.
14:58 February 25, 2013 by M Australian
@pepsionice

As per current law: the country of residence ie. country where one lives for min 183 days per year.
17:43 February 25, 2013 by IchBinKönig
Why not just make everyone in Turkey a German Passport holder?
17:51 February 25, 2013 by johnny108
Turkey is a booming economy. It has also failed to meet the standards for inclusion into the EU- on humanitarian and freedom-based grounds. Why should the EU open it's doors to a path most EU members believe will lead to more islamic terrorism?
18:18 February 25, 2013 by neunElf
Steve1949 and Johnny 108 are quite right indeed!

How terrible to force someone to make a decision! Most of us had NO choice!

These ungrateful people who want to maintain their ethnic fantasy while enjoying the advantages of German/EU citizenship are truly disgusting.

Why do they deserve "special treatment"?
18:49 February 25, 2013 by The-ex-pat
12:48 February 25, 2013 by pepsionice

You simply open up the door to tax madness....to which country do you pay taxes to? The Germans will grin and say them. The Turks will say themselves. Why even bother saying citizenship to two countries? Why not have a passport to sixteen different countries?

As a Brit with a UK and German passport, I pay tax in the land I live in...........Germany. It does not get any simpler.
20:56 February 25, 2013 by ovalle3.14
If this fear with the "tax madness" was true, how is it gonna get worse when already EU citizens can have dual citizenship? Isn't it also gonna be quite hard to file taxes in a country where you don't live (and probably haven't lived in for years)? Come on folks, don't drink the Kool-Aid.
21:24 February 25, 2013 by yourkeau
«You simply open up the door to tax madness....to which country do you pay taxes to? The Germans will grin and say them.»

Tax liability in Germany has NOTHING to do with citizenship. Thus, foreigners living in Germany more than 180 days a year are liable for taxes, while Germans living abroad are not liable for taxes. Simple as it is. Then if the country of your second citizenship has the same system, then you only pay taxes in the country you live, that will be one country. Then, there is a country like the US which has tax liability based on citizenship rather then on residency. But again, there is an agreement between Germany and the US, so Americans do not pay taxes twice. In the worst case, when your country requires you to pay taxes, you can give up your second citizenship or keep and pay taxes twice. That should be a choice.

@Tatsiana

You have a good point! People just want to visit their family without visas, and that's it.
22:11 February 25, 2013 by Steve1949
@ johnny108..........Why do you think that Merkel all of a sudden is pushing for Turkey's membership in the EU.
01:22 February 26, 2013 by blackboot11
I am all for dual citizenship here. I was born and worked in the USA for most of my life. Now I I am married to a German and living in Berlin for the last 6 years. If I give up my USA pass to get a German Pass, I also would also give up the Rentenversicherung that I have paid into for MANY years in the USA ... for this reason alone I opt not to take a German pass with these conditions. Let me know when this changes and I will have a different Meinung.
07:02 February 26, 2013 by Nancy Hewett
Why would I ever give up my US citizenship to become a German citizen? Or renew my residence permit and pay high taxes without the right to vote? Do I want to bring my children to live in such an unfriendly place?
07:55 February 26, 2013 by The-ex-pat
07:02 February 26, 2013 by Nancy Hewett

Why would I ever give up my US citizenship to become a German citizen? Or renew my residence permit and pay high taxes without the right to vote? Do I want to bring my children to live in such an unfriendly place?

So the USA is the same a Germany then. A Green Card (Residents permit) give me the privilege to pay taxes and keep my mouth shut when it comes to voting...............
08:08 February 26, 2013 by Nancy Hewett
The USA allows dual citizenship. Germany does not.
19:42 February 26, 2013 by onemark
Due to a fortunate accident of birth, I have citizenships of New Zealand, the United kingdom and the Republic of Ireland - all of them completely legal.

In all these countries the state doesn't care how many passports you have as long as you obey the laws of the country you are in at any given moment and have obtained these citizenships legally.

Now if we can do it, why can't - or more to the point, why won't - Germany follow suit? It's not difficult.
06:11 February 28, 2013 by Bettylou
Nancy Hewitt; of course Germany allows dual citizen ship. the article above says so! I have both German and Australian citizenship
16:24 March 2, 2013 by Nancy Hewett
The article is about allowing non-EU backgrounds dual citizenship. Like me, many potential future citizens find it unacceptable to give up our current citizenship.
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