Diasporian News of Monday, 7 July 2014

Source: FRANCIS TAWIAH (Duisburg - Germany)

Germany decides long last over Dual citizenship

German government has on Friday, the 4th July 2014 adopted a new law that allows dual citizenship for the children of immigrants, a step to benefit mostly young people in Germany especially from the Turkish-origin community.

Until the new law was passed, only few Germany-born children of immigrants from the non-European Union countries were granted Dual (both German and their parents) citizenship, but then, it was compulsory to opt for one of them by age of either 21 or 23, depending upon the country of origin. Ghanaian children for instance had to decide for either Ghana or Germany at the maximum age of 21, a country like Turkey had to option at the maximum age of 23.

Under the new law passed last Friday, those born after 1989, that is from 1990 will now be allowed to keep both passports, eliminating now the requirement that forced some young adults in Germany with foreign backgrounds to make a bitter choice.

The Dual citizenship rule applies to those who have attained the age of 21, have lived in Germany at least eight years and attended school for at least six, and for holders of German school diplomas or job qualifications. Representatives of the Turkish community in Germany have argued the new law is not complete and good enough because it excludes first-generation of Turkish immigrants who came to Germany as "guest workers". However the new citizenship reform was one of the major demands of the Social Democrats before they agreed to join Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in a grand coalition government last year.

The German interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, a conservative, called the law's passage a "big step", while recalling the debate over the change "a tough and bitter battle."

Conservatives had for an very long time being opposing dual citizenship with the argumentation, it is impossible to be loyal to two countries. In the end the law was passed by 463 against 111 with one abstention.

Social Democrat lawmaker Ruediger Veit, hailed the huge step taken at long last toward a modern (and democratic) citizenship law. Ruediger said "from now on every child who is born here and grows up here remains a citizen of this country, with all the rights and obligations."

Formerly, Germany allowed dual citizenship only if the other country was a member of the 28 nation European Union or one of several dozen other nations.