The German government has blocked legislation that would have allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants living in the country to assume dual citizenship.
Currently, German law does not allow anyone from outside of the EU or ECC to hold dual citizenship, although children of migrants who are born in Germany are allowed to keep both their German nationality and that of their parents until they turn 18, when they must then choose between the two.
The government has been criticised for its decision on Wednesday not to pass new legislation which would have allowed immigrants to assume dual citizenship, especially at a time when the country is attempting to appear more welcoming to foreign newcomers.
“[Chancellor Angela] Merkel has said she wants a welcoming culture, and yet the current law on nationality doesn’t foster integration but rather forces people to give up their heritage,” said Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary floor leader of the Social Democrats – Germany’s main opposition party. “We need to change this. Germany needs immigrants.”
However, Angela Merkel’s coalition government maintain that what Germany needs is to lower barriers that prevent foreigners from working in the country, not to lessen the citizenship requirements.
“For us, an expression of successful integration means that a person decides for Germany,” said senior Conservative, Ole Schroeder. “Social diversity is not dependent on people having several nationalities.”