German upper house says ′no′ to dual citizenship | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 26.03.2010
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Germany

German upper house says 'no' to dual citizenship

For German-born children of foreign parents, the choice between citizenship in their birth country and their parents' is a difficult one. Three German states proposed to allow them to keep both, but were denied.

A German and a Turkish passport

Conservatives say dual citizenship is counterproductive

On Friday the upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, voted down a petition to allow dual citizenship for the German-born children of foreign nationals.

City-states Berlin and Bremen were joined by the state of Brandenburg in proposing to reverse a law made in 2000, under which children born to foreign nationals in Germany must choose one citizenship by their twenty-third birthday.

Berlin's home affairs senator Ehrhart Koerting argued that allowing dual citizenship would lead to a happier integration of foreign nationals.

Ehrhart Koerting

Berlin's home affairs senator believes dual citizenship would allow for easier integration

"For many people, the need to choose between German citizenship and foreign citizenship feels like having to give up part of their identity and cut ties with their ancestry," said Koerting. "It seems foreseeable that the choice could lead to conflicts within families."

Merkel doesn't like the idea

Hesse's justice and integration minister Joerg-Uwe Hahn of the Free Democratic Party disagreed, saying that dual citizenship was counterproductive to integration and that no need for it had been demonstrated.

Friday's decision is in line with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative position on integration. Merkel responded negatively to Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's suggestion of having Turkish schools in Germany.

Earlier this week, Erdogan told German weekly Die Zeit that it was "very regrettable that Germany is one of the European Union countries that doesn't allow dual citizenship."

The group most affected by Germany's dual-citizenship laws are the descendents of Turkish migrant workers. Though the rule also applies to those with double EU nationalities, it has not been enforced in their cases.

dl/AFP/dpa
Editor: Ben Knight

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