Denationalising Dutch Foreign Fighters: Council of State Annuls Revocation Decisions

As the number of returning foreign fighters increases after the downfall of the Islamic State (IS), the practice of an increasing number of European states to deprive these persons of their citizenship and their right to return continues to be the subject of public discourse and scholarly debate. In the Netherlands, where those who join certain terrorist organisations abroad can lose their citizenship since the enactment of the necessary legislation in March 2017, the practice remains controversial. Read More …

The new battles of the suffrage in today’s democracies

The electoral franchise has become more universal as restrictions based on criteria such as sex or property have been lifted throughout the process of democratisation. Yet, a broad range of exclusions has persisted to this date, making the suffrage non-universal, even in established democracies. In this article, we present ELECLAW, a new set of indicators that captures the subtle and variegated legal landscape of persisting electoral rights restrictions. Read More …

Bold and thoughtful: the Court of Justice intervenes in nationality law

Tjebbes is a bold and yet thoughtful judgment. It pushes the boundaries of the role of EU law in nationality matters and yet does so in a manner that both respects the primacy of the Member States in regulating this area of law, and acknowledges the genuine Union-interest in the manner in which denaturalisation decisions impact on Union citizens. It provides a follow-up and elaboration of the judgment in Rottmann, confirming the applicability of Union law in nationality law and detailing the nature of its intervention. This intervention is of both a procedural and a substantive kind, requiring an individual examination of any decision withdrawing nationality having regard to a set of consequences linked to the status of Union citizenship. Read More …

2018: a year in citizenship

Throughout 2018, citizenship has been one of the most ubiquitous topics of political debate in a number of countries. In January the Austrian and the Italian governments entered into a spat over the possibility to offer Austrian citizenship to German and Ladin speaking people living in the region of South Tyrol. In May the United Kingdom government was embroiled in a scandal over the rights of Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK in the period after the Second World War. And in October, the US President Donald Trump said he will try to end the right to U.S. citizenship for babies born in the United States to non-citizens. While being a burning topic in the political discourse, the way countries regulate their membership has remained largely intact. In fact, there have been only a few changes to citizenship legislation between January 2018 and January 2019. We have mapped these reforms. Read More …

The local citizenship crisis in Switzerland

Swiss municipalities face what can be called a local citizenship crisis. They struggle to recruit people, especially young ones, who want to hold public office – even though according to a new study one in five young citizens would be ready to be engaged in local politics. Among the proposed remedies are the introduction of candidacy rights for non-citizens as well as for citizens not residing in the municipality. The proposals highlight the strongly republican character of citizenship in Switzerland. Read More …

Investor citizenship and refusal as political practice of states and non-citizens

In the context of citizenship, ‘refusal’ can have both a state dimension and an individual one. It creates populations whose rights are limited domestically or internationally, either through their own volition or by deliberate state action. While in these cases investor citizenship can indeed serve the instrumental purpose of attributing a status it remains a highly problematic practice. Read More …

Ius Soli: a French constitutional principle?

Since 2008, the archives of the Conseil constitutionnel (the French constitutional court) must be disclosed after a period of twenty-five years. The centre-piece of these archives is the verbatim of the judges’ deliberation. The recent release of the deliberations of the major decision of 20 July 1993 shows new aspects about nationality law in France. Notably, some of these (no longer) secret discussions of the judges suggest that ius soli, while currently only included in ordinary law, could also become an unwritten constitutional principle. Read More …

The revival of denaturalisation under the Trump administration

In 1967, the United States Supreme Court put an end to the U.S. government’s aggressive denaturalisation campaigns, declaring in Afroyim v. Rusk that denaturalisation for any reason other than fraud or mistake violated the U.S. Constitution. More than fifty years later, the Trump administration has resurrected denaturalisation by broadly defining fraud and mistake, as well as by seeking to remove citizenship through the civil system, under which the target has few procedural protections. Read More …

What’s in the EC’s report on investor citizenship?

On 23 January, the European Commission published its long-awaited Report on Investor Citizenship Schemes. The report is accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Document, which provides definitions of investor residence and citizenship programmes, as well as an overview of policies applicable across the 28 European Union (EU) Member States. On the basis of an empirical study of investor citizenship and residence schemes in the EU, the report calls for due regard of EU law in national citizenship policies, especially regarding the link between residence and physical presence, common standards for security checks, and enhanced oversight of intermediaries involved in acquisition of citizenship and residence by investment. Read More …