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Opposition demands overhauled citizenship laws as naturalisations drop

DDP/The Local · 29 Jun 2010, 16:12

Published: 29 Jun 2010 16:12 GMT+02:00

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According to the new numbers from the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis), the number of people to gain German citizenship has been decreasing in recent years. Between 2000 and 2007 some 140,000 people received German passports each year, but since then the numbers began decreasing and last year just 96,100 did.

The socialist Left party on Tuesday accused the government of failing to make an effort to increase numbers. Spokesperson for immigration policy Sevim Dagdelen said her party would soon present a new plan for naturalisation after only five years that does not depend on income.

Meanwhile Green party leader Cem Özdemir, who as the son of Turkish immigrants did not gain citizenship until 1983, complained that the country is ignoring its “existing naturalisation potential.”

Özdemir encouraged the government to abolish its requirement to give up native citizenship when gaining a German passport. He also criticised a recent call by two conservatives for an intelligence test for immigrants as a sign the country’s frequently noted inhospitality.

On Monday conservatives Peter Trapp and Markus Ferber told daily Bild that humanitarian concerns should no longer be the only criteria in accepting immigrants into Germany and suggested they also be required to take an intelligence test to insure their economic potential.

Their comments were met with strong criticism from within their party and beyond.

Parliamentary whip for the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) Peter Altmaier said the two were “not necessarily brilliant” in their remarks, which only serve to bog down the integration policy debate.

Head of the parliamentary interior committee and CDU member Wolfgang Bosbach told broadcaster Deutschlandradio their suggestions should not be taken seriously.

Meanwhile Barbara John, who served as Berlin’s integration commissioner from 1981 to 2003, said that many highly qualified immigrants were overlooking Germany as a potential new home.

“We can no longer seek out these immigrants, instead they look for the countries where they’d like to go,” she told broadcaster SWR.

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Joachim Herrmann, Bavarian Interior Minister and member of the CSU, the state’s sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU, also rejected tightening naturalisation criteria to focus on intelligence and educational qualifications, as his fellow party member Ferber suggested.

Instead the country needs to focus on building its workforce, he told daily Bild, adding that intelligence isn’t a factor there.

“If for example we need caregivers in Germany, a highly educated academic does no good,” he said.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:54 June 29, 2010 by majura
"ízdemir encouraged the government to abolish its requirement to give up native citizenship when gaining a German passport. He also criticised a recent call by two conservatives for an intelligence test for immigrants as a sign the country¦#39;s frequently noted inhospitality."

17:03 June 29, 2010 by William Thirteen
as a 'highly skilled' expat moved to Germany I can attest that the naturalisation laws seem somewhat counter-productive to attracting skilled talent. While i just recently received permanent residency i had to jump through a lot of hoops to get there and the prohibition against dual citizenship keeps me from actually taking German citizenship since I am unsure I want to give up the advantages of my current citizenship.
17:16 June 29, 2010 by DinhoPilot
No offense... but to me, even if they offered without any condition, I wouldn't want it. Being a EU citizen, I wouldn't want to loose my current dual citizenship.

I say that with all the respect to german people...

You just complicate things so much it, that it **** up
23:08 June 29, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
Not offering that I may keep my native Citizenship is the sole block to my interest. I always vote in elections for my Home Country. I would enjoy the possibility and Right to Vote here in Germany too.
23:18 June 29, 2010 by moiin
Germany may consider dual citizenship, it will give all a win-win situation!
04:08 June 30, 2010 by vonSchwerin
It seems that the obvious thing would be to allow dual citizenship with the German citizenship trumping the other one whilst in Germany. A Turkish-born German or Mexican-born German would pay German taxes, be subject to all German law, and be eligible for Bundeswehr/Zivildienst. If a token second passport for sentimental reasons is the obstacle, that should be dealt with easily.
11:51 June 30, 2010 by Aschaffenburgboy
I would like to become a German citizen, but not at the cost of losing my American citizenship, and the only reason for this is due to my family back home. I don't know what will happen in the future politically or economically, and I want to know that I have the option of going back home without having to be considered an immigrant by the state. My son has dual citizenship, and I would like to have to the same, it would make my life so much easier in this country. Maye things will change soon.
12:22 June 30, 2010 by moistvelvet

although I agree with you to some extent, but isn't having citizenship really about making a statement where home is? Saying that you want to be a citizen of Germany for the perks but consider home in another state as a safeguard is IMO trying to have your cake and eat it. Could you not take German citizenship then revert back to the US if you decided to go back home at a later date? Not sure how difficult that would be, perhaps it is just the sense of belonging that people don't want to lose.

Like others have said I would like to vote in German elections just as I do in those back home, but rules in Germany (as in other countries) dictate that non-tax paying citizens of the state may vote but tax paying visitors cannot.

I'm not sure if I would want dual citizenship, but I definately wouldn't want to give up my British one... which is why I guess may have something to do with my lack of integration and feel of belonging in Germany. Would being a German citizen change that perception and the perception that Germany has of me with my non-German academic/proffesional qualifications? Or would I still be one of those foreigners with a German ID.
23:39 July 1, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Having dual citizenship wouldn't make you German. What it would do, is give you two sets of benefits of citizenship from two different nations. I do believe what they are actually interested in is for you to become German - and stay German. Not sit on the fence and decide back and forth.
16:16 July 13, 2010 by blauaugen63
You can only be loyal to one Country. German citizenship should be reserved for Germans. The USA is being flooded with illegal immigrants from Mexico. They want US citizenship for the benefits, but still send billions back to Mexico. In fact many state that they are reclaiming parts of the US for Mexico.

Germany should be strict with its immigration policy. If you they are not they will wake up to a country without any Germans.
17:05 July 16, 2010 by jollyroger
oh yes, change the citizenship laws just to please third world foreigners. if these foreigners don't want to give up the citizenship of their own native countries, that should tell germans a thing or two. ask the british and the french about dual citizenship and the mass migration and arranged marriages that often result. the reality is this; either germans want to protect their national and cultural/ethnic identity, or go the way of france, which is now going the way of nazi germany, because of the disastrous policies of previous generations of french liberals. the german left simply don't like being german, unless being "german" is represented with a black african face and a veil.
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