Germany’s government has announced the intention to ease citizenship requirements. On Saturday November 26th, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Germany has long become “the country of hope” for many, and that it is good for people who have settled in the country to seek citizenship.
The overhaul of citizenship rules is one of several modernizing reforms that Scholz’s three-party coalition of center-left Social Democrats, the environmentalist Greens and the Free Democratic Party agreed to tackle when they took office last December, as reported by the Associated Press.
Germany needs better rules for the naturalization of all these great women and men.Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor
According to German news outlet DW, ministers from Germany’s 16 states have previously called on the federal government to speed up the process of children born to foreigners living in Germany becoming German citizens. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser noted that reducing the waiting time to obtain citizenship is “an incentive for integration.” The goal is to reflect reality, Faeser said. “We are a diverse and modern immigration country, and I think the legislation should reflect that.”
The view held by the opposition, however, is rather different. Christian Democratic Union parliamentarian Thorsten Frei told Bild magazine, “the German passport must not become junk.” According to DW, Christian Social Union politician Andrea Lindholz was worried that foreigners in Germany would be “deprived of a great incentive to integrate.”
Last year’s coalition agreement promotes making people eligible for German citizenship after five years, or three in case of “special integration achievements,” instead of the current six to eight years. Children born in Germany would automatically become citizens if one parent has been a legal resident for five years.
The government also wants to remove restrictions on holding dual citizenship. Currently, most people from countries other than European Union members and Switzerland have to renounce their previous nationality in principle when they obtain German citizenship, although there are some exceptions.