Suggestion to extend dual citizenship to Turks splits German government
BERLIN – Anatolia News Agency
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (R) of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) slammed a Cabinet colleague, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (L), who belongs to the junior coalition partner, the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), for supporting the move.Germany’s government has been left divided by an ongoing discussion over whether to expand the implementation of dual citizenship to permit citizens of Turkey and other countries to possess two passports, with members of the governing coalition trading barbs with one another.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) slammed a Cabinet colleague, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who belongs to the junior coalition partner, the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), for supporting the move. Emphasizing that he would not allow any softening of the dual citizenship laws, Friedrich accused Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger of preparing the ground for a potential coalition with socialist and greens after elections set for September 2013.
The current citizenship laws introduced in 2000 allow people born to a family who hold a non-European Union citizenship to have both citizenships until the age of 23. Unlike countries such as France, Germany does not allow a second passport after this age and forces children to demonstrate that they have renounced their non-German citizenship. If they fail to do this, they automatically lose their German citizenship. Children who have one parent from an EU country, however, are entitled to dual citizenship.
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger had earlier extended reserved support for the reform, attracting fire from CDU officials in the government.
“If the selective model causes [people] to turn their back on Germany, it should be evaluated,” she said. Hinting that dual citizenship might help facilitate immigrants’ integration into German society, she said the government should not stand against such reform.
Germany’s main opposition, the Social Democrat Party (SDP), immediately welcomed and extended support to Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger’s remarks while hinting that the move was an act of electioneering. “Seeing the FDP, which is fighting for survival, suddenly showing their sympathy to dual citizenship is nice,” said the SPD’s parliamentary group spokesman, Michael Hartman.
Meanwhile, FDP member and former economy minister in the Angela Merkel Cabinet Rainer Brüderle did not object to Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger’s stance, but added that integrating migrants into society was more important than the number of passports each person possesses. The FDP also counts among its ranks acting Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.