BERLIN ( Associated Press) — The current progressive German government is seeking to ease the requirements for obtaining citizenship in the European Union’s most populous country, a move that is coming under fire from the conservative opposition.
Chancellor Oif Scholz declared in a video on Saturday that Germany has long become a “country of hope” for many people, and that it is good that people who have put down roots in the country are seeking citizenship.
“Germany needs better rules for the naturalization of all these great women and men,” Scholz said.
The overhaul of citizenship rules is one of several modernizing reforms that Scholz’s tripartite coalition of centre-left Social Democrats, environmental Greens and the pro-business Free Democratic Party agreed to undertake last December. The Home Office said on Friday that the bill is “almost ready”.
Last year’s coalition agreement calls for people to be eligible for German citizenship after five years, or three in the case of “special integration achievements”, instead of the current six to eight years. Children born in Germany automatically become citizens if either 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 members of the European Union and Switzerland have to renounce their previous nationality in principle upon obtaining German citizenship, although there are exceptions.
Home Secretary Nancy Feser argued that reducing waiting times to obtain citizenship is an “incentive for integration”.
The goal is to reflect reality, Facer said Friday. “We are a diverse and modern country of immigration, and I think the law should reflect that.”