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Effort to ease dual citizenship fails

The Local · 10 Nov 2011, 16:17

Published: 10 Nov 2011 16:17 GMT+01:00

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The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and the socialist Left party had united to try to change the current law which forces children born in Germany to choose between their parents' nationality and German citizenship. If they fail to make a decision by the time they are 23, they are stripped of the right to a German passport.

Even though the SPD had voted in favour of the rule known as the Optionspflicht in 1999, the party’s parliamentary leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it now needed to be changed. “This option rule does not work,” he said, adding his party should make good what it had gone wrong in the past.

Green MP Hans-Christian Ströbele also said the 1999 law was a mistake, but added that it had been the only way to get a dual citizenship passed at all in the face of conservative opposition in the upper house of parliament at the time.

Conservative MP Stephan Meyer spoke during the debate on Thursday calling the motion's timing ridiculous, noting that the first choices were made only in 2008 and that they had until 2013 to make their decisions. He said the up to 5,000 people concerned each year should be questioned about their experiences before the law is changed.

And Free Democratic MP Hartfrid Wolff said a person with dual citizenship would “not be accepted anywhere as an equal citizen.”

Story continues below…

This was furiously batted down by Green MP Omid Nouripour, who said such “loyalty paranoia” was unfair to the hundreds of thousands of people who were working in Germany.

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

23:55 November 10, 2011 by jstar100
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:35 November 11, 2011 by nolibs
All you have to do is look at Israel as an example of why dual-citizenship creates dual-loyalties. In many cases the country that the citizen was born, lives and works in will get the short end as they try to help out an "ally". Good examples are: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, (who sold our Nuclear Weapons secrets to the Soviet Union) Morton Sobel, Elizibeth Terrel Bently, Klaus Fuchs, Theodore Hall, Harry Gold, William Pearl, and Jonathan Pollard. All were US Citizens and betrayed their country for Israel.
09:53 November 11, 2011 by Lachner
@nolibs - I understand your point, but you are making an assumption that EVERYONE with a dual citizenship would betray their home country. That is definitely not the case. There are more people that have actively contributed to the development and well-being of their home countries, than cases of people that have betrayed it. Don't generalize.
13:08 November 11, 2011 by nolibs
@Lachner - There are always exceptions, but my comment came from not only the historical references I made, but from personal experiences as well. I often heard how my fellow citizens would deny service to their own country, saying that they would move to Sweden or Canada, etc if forced to serve. Yet, almost in the same breath, stated that they would move to Israel and join the Army if Iraq or Iran attacked (heard that often during the first Iraq war).
18:09 November 11, 2011 by Bigbobswinden
Loyalty is a difficult concept and often abused by those in power. I do not think the color of a passport will sort out this problem.
18:17 November 12, 2011 by derExDeutsche
I am both a German and USA Passport holder. I only vote in Germany occasionally. However, I always vote for Americas best interest in German Elections.
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