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POLITICS

Germany’s new coalition government to allow dual nationality

The new coalition agreement unveiled on Wednesday states that the new government will enable dual nationality and lower the bar for German citizenship.

A British and a German passport.
A British and a German passport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Britta Pedersen

Germany’s new coalition government released its coalition agreement on Wednesday, which laid out its intention to “simplify the path to German citizenship” and move towards a modern citizenship law.

READ ALSO: LATEST: Germany’s next government sets out roadmap for post-Merkel era

Significantly, the agreement states that the law will be changed to enable ‘multiple citizenships’, suggesting that the traffic light parties will permit dual nationality for non-EU citizens.

Currently, non-EU citizens who did not grow up in Germany must generally choose between German and foreign citizenship after reaching the age of 21.

The agreement will also shorten the time frame for applying for naturalisation to only five years – or three years in the case of special integration achievements.

Until now, non-Germans who are not married to a German could only apply for naturalization after having continuous legal residence in Germany for eight years. This could be reduced to seven years with completed integration course, or six years with German language skills better than level B1.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How German citizenship differs from permanent residency

Easier process for the guest-worker generation

The coalition has also laid out their intention to make naturalization easier for members of the so-called “guest worker” generation. Guest workers were mainly Turkish workers from abroad who were recruited to work in industries such as agriculture, construction, steel, automotive and mining from the mid 1950s to early 1970s.

The agreement wants to “recognise the lifetime of achievements” of this generation, by lowering the language level that must be proven for this group, and by introducing a general hardship regulation for the required proof of language proficiency.

The coalition also intend to launch a campaign to inform people about the possibilities of acquiring German citizenship and to expressly welcome the holding of naturalisation ceremonies.

Member comments

  1. Now, I can finally enjoy dual citizenship! I have lived here 15 years, and I passed the Einbürgerungstest over 3 years ago, and I have C2 Level German, but I wasn’t willing to give my American passport.

  2. Having just missed the threshold set by Brexit to qualify for dual nationality, this is looking interesting. Very interesting!

  3. Can anyone clarify the apparent discrepancy between “the time frame for applying for naturalisation to only five years – or three years” and the next paragraph where it says six or seven years?

    1. 3-5 years is proposed change but the current rules are 8 years, but reduced to 7 if a integration course is completed and 6 if you have more than B1 German.

    1. I would also like to know if as a German living abroad, if I now no longer need to apply to be able to keep my German citizenship when living overseas and applying for another citizenship? Does anyone know more about this? Thanks in advance

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POLITICS

Civil servants ‘getting burnout’ over energy crisis, says German minister

Public sector workers trying to tackle Germany's ongoing energy crisis are suffering from illness and burnout, Economics Minister Robert Habeck has said.

Civil servants 'getting burnout' over energy crisis, says German minister

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has unleashed economic turmoil in Europe, placing Germany’s new coalition government under pressure to firefight multiple crises.

Perhaps the largest of these is the energy crisis, which has prompted fears of gas shortages in the winter months and seen prices for fossil fuels soar for both households and businesses.

According to Economics and Climate Minister Robert Habeck, the staff at his ministry – who are charged with tackling the energy crisis – are struggling to cope with the extraordinary pressure that they have been under in recent months. 

“People, at some point they have to sleep and eat too,” the Green politician said at a congress of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) in Berlin. “It’s not bullshit I’m talking now: people get sick. They have burnout, they get tinnitus. They can’t take it anymore.”

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In the last nine months alone, the Economics Ministry has produced 20 laws and 28 ordinances, Habeck revealed. He said this was likely more than the ministry produced over the entirety of the previous four-year legislature. 

Highlighting the strain that his staff were under, Habeck explained that it was always the same people in charge in drafting new laws in the battle to secure the energy supply.

To say that the Tourism Ministry could help restructure the electricity market would be like “telling the artist who made the sculptures that he can be the president of the Federation of German Industries,” the Green politician added. 

Batting off criticism that the ministry had occasionally been slow to act, Habeck said: “Of course you could say, ‘why didn’t you do the regulation a week earlier’. But it’s not because people are sleeping, it’s because there is a limit to their physical capacity.”

Gas levy criticism 

Germany has had to cope with an ever intensifying energy emergency over the past few months, culminating in Russia reducing supplies and then turning off gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline entirely in September. 

Most recently, the government took steps to nationalise its largest gas supplier – Uniper – in a move to prevent the collapse of the country’s energy infrastructure. Uniper has suffered losses of billions of euros this year due to the costs involved in replacing cheap Russian gas supplies at short notice. 

Habeck, who has appeared increasingly world-weary and exhausted in recent months, has faced sharp criticism for a number of decisions made during the crisis. 

Most controversially, his decision to implement a gas levy to bail out major energy companies has been met with consternation from both the opposition and the Greens’ coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD). 

On Friday, SPD leader Lars Klingbeil reiterated concerns about the fairness of the gas levy at a time when many are struggling to pay their energy bills.

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil speaks to the press during the ARD Summer Interview in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

In a situation where the government is facing multiple decisions in a short space of time, ministers also require the strength to “reconsider and correct their path”, Klingbeil told RND.

“(The gas levy) is about supporting the gas supply infrastructure,” he added. “However, this must be done fairly.”

In spite of the nationalisation of Uniper, Habeck has confirmed that the gas levy – which adds 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour of energy onto gas bills – will still be introduced on October 1st.

However, on Thursday he announced that there would be changes to Energy Security Act to ensure that only companies who needed the bailout would benefit from the levy.

According to the ministry, the changes are set to be passed by the cabinet on September 28th.

READ ALSO: Germany to push ahead with gas levy plans

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