German citizenship For Members

EXCLUSIVE: German conservatives criticise dual citizenship plans for promoting ‘loyalty conflicts’

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
EXCLUSIVE: German conservatives criticise dual citizenship plans for promoting ‘loyalty conflicts’
The German Christian Democrats have a history of opposing citizenship reform, and blocked a 1999 proposal to allow it in the Bundesrat after spearheading a petition against it. Photo: picture-alliance / dpa | Arne_Dedert

The country’s Christian Democrats remain opposed to the current traffic light government’s plans to allow dual citizenship and shorten the period someone needs to have been resident in Germany before applying for citizenship.


As the German government prepares to present its draft law liberalising German citizenship to parliamentarians this spring, the conservative CDU shows no sign of softening its position against the reforms.

The proposed reform, agreed by all three government parties – the Social Democrats, Greens, and liberal Free Democrats – will allow dual citizenship for everyone applying to become German. At the moment, it is only allowed in certain cases, such as for other EU citizens, refugees, and those who can’t renounce their old passport – for example.

Among other measures, it will also reduce the amount of time someone needs to have been resident in Germany from eight years to five and even allow fast-track citizenship for well-integrated people after three years.

Parliamentarians in the three governing parties expect the new law to reach the Bundestag for debate by spring, and for it to pass by summer, although it’s still unclear exactly when the new rules would take effect.

READ ALSO: TIMELINE: What happens next with Germany’s plans to allow dual citizenship?


However, internationals in Germany should prepare for some strong opposition statements from the CDU and its sister party, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), once the draft law hits the Bundestag.

“We as a Union are of the opinion that Germany already has a liberal legal framework when it comes to nationality law,” the CDU/CSU’s main critic on immigration and citizenship in the Bundestag, Stefan Heck, told The Local.

Heck argues that the current waiting time of eight years should stay in place to keep applications for citizenship “not at the beginning but at the end of the integration process.”

Stefan Heck CDU critic of German nationality law

Dr. Stefan Heck, CDU spokesperson on citizenship and immigration. Photo: Tobias Koch

But he makes clear his conservatives also object to dual citizenship – even for someone who has waited eight years.

“We as the CDU/CSU parliamentary group are happy about each foreign citizen who feels comfortable here in Germany, has learned German and integrated well, and who now wants to seal this by naturalising,” he said.

'Danger of loyalty conflicts'

But he believes applicants should be prepared to decide to make a conscious choice to be German and give up their other passport.

“Dual citizenship should not be the rule, but the exception – justified by special circumstances,” he said. “If a dual passport becomes the norm, I see a danger of loyalty conflicts, since citizens with two nationalities may be confronted with contrasting positions between the two countries on certain issues. This danger exists particularly in times of crisis and during international conflicts.”

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: What’s in Germany’s draft law on dual citizenship?

Dual citizenship parliamentary rapporteurs defend the draft law

Parliamentarians working on the reform with each of the three government parties all told The Local the new rules will modernise German nationality law to reflect that Germany is now a country of immigration and contend that – unlike what Heck argues – Germany’s current nationality rules fall behind other countries.

“In many other countries, such as France and Sweden, the hurdles for naturalisation are already significantly lower than here,” Stephan Thomae, the FDP’s rapporteur on the citizenship law reform, told The Local.


“It makes sense to allow the first two generations of immigrants, who often still have strong ties to their country of origin, to have multiple nationalities. Some may not wish to give up the nationality of their country of origin, where they still may have a house or family.”

The Greens contend that German nationality law has stalled for over twenty years, and is ill-equipped to handle the country’s current challenges.

“Critics of this overdue reform should finally come to terms with the realities of this country,” Filiz Polat, parliamentary rapporteur for the Greens on the draft citizenship reform law, told The Local.

“In an EU comparison, our naturalisation rate has been in the lower third of all member states for quite some time,” she added. “We’re introducing a modern nationality law to counteract this.”

German Bundestag three rapporteurs for the dual citizenship law

L to R: The traffic light government's three parliamentary rapporteurs for Germany's planned citizenship reform Hakan Demir (SPD), Filiz Polat (Greens) & Stephan Thomae (FDP)

'We urgently need immigration'

Hakan Demir, the SPD’s rapporteur for the law, says the law is also a necessary part of making Germany a welcoming place for people to settle – particularly as it tries to attract skilled international workers to the country.

"Many classic immigration countries such as the USA, New Zealand or Canada naturalise quickly. That's one of the reasons they’re attractive to skilled workers,” Demir tells The Local. “Due to demographic change, we also urgently need immigration into the labour market. The Union does not recognise this and they’re thus jeopardising our social prosperity."

Despite conservative objections, the rapporteurs said they expect the law to pass by summer.

READ ALSO: INTERVIEW: Germany on track to pass dual citizenship despite opposition


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Jochen Jung 2023/03/02 03:36
My family migrated to Australia forty years ago, I was 14. I have a permanent resident visa and an EU passport. I married an Australian, my children are dual citizens. Dual citizenship would reward my loyalty to Germany not cause a loyalty conflict. I would like to apply for Australian citizenship for many reasons and keep my German passport. I am active in the local German Club, play Skat and own land in Germany. Conservative politicians need to see the world though other peoples eyes.

See Also