The Federal Interior Ministry statistics made public on 14 September by the Greens parliamentary group in the Bundestag showed 958,701 German naturalizations since 2000 and 491,862 newborns of foreign parents recognized initially as German citizens.
Germany’s legislature adopted the place-of-birth principle for the automatic qualification for citizenship in 2000 after heated debate that saw the then-governing Social Democrats under former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder scuttle the plan to allow full dual citizenship without restraint.
The modified law instead required children to opt for one of two nationalities, once they reach maturity at 18 or before their 23rd birthday; for example, by remaining German but renouncing nationalities derived from their parents.
Abolition call for dual citizenship
Last weekend, Bavarian allies of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who have long railed against her liberal refugee policies, demanded in a five-page paper that dual citizenship, even in its limited form, be abolished – in response to recent gains by the anti-immigration AfD.
Since 2000, the number of foreigners seeking German nationalization has dropped to about 110,000 per year – a trend that researchers at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in 2011 attributed to “the need to give up one’s previous nationality.”
The new figures also recalled that Germany’s last census conducted in 2011 had recorded 4.26 million persons who aside from having German nationality also had a further nationality.
The ministry was quoted though as warning that that total had a “large statistical uncertainty” because a subsequent micro-census in 2015 had recorded only 1.69 million dual nationals in Germany.
CDU/CSU ‘fantasizing,’ say Greens
Greens interior affairs expert Volker Beck claimed that in relation to Germany’s total population of 82 million, the data debunked anti-migrant sentiment. “The interior ministers of [Merkel’s allied grouping comprising her Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU)] should cease fantasizing about multiple nationalities,” Beck told Düsseldorf’s Rheinische Post newspaper.
It would be more sensible for Germany to “significantly improve” its integration services for immigrants and refugees, said the Greens parliamentarian, whose party accuses Merkel’s coalition government of impeding naturalization efforts.
‘Modern citizenship law’ needed
Early last week, the federal government’s integration commissioner, Aydan Özoguz, reiterated her Social Democratic Party’s call for Germany to adopt a “modern citizenship law” with the option of dual nationality for all those willing to integrate.
She told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine” newspaper that Germany’s naturalization quota lay far below the EU average. Fewer foreign residents were willing to renounce “their old passport.” // ipj/kl (dpa, KNA, Reuters)