CDU and FDP reject German government plan for citizenship reform
Could Germany’s citizenship reforms be blocked in parliament? Senior members of the CDU and FDP have called the reform plans into question, claiming that they would be too generous for migrants who are not sufficiently integrated.
CDU and FDP dispute German citizenship reform plan
The CDU / CSU and FDP have criticised the government’s plans to reform Germany’s citizenship laws. Speaking to the Rheinische Post, CDU general secretary Mario Czaja said that the current system should continue, and that granting citizenship to non-Germans should not “come at the beginning of the integration process". "First integration, then citizenship," Czaja stressed.
In its coalition agreement, Germany's current traffic-light government outlined plans to radically reform the country’s citizenship laws. Most significantly for migrants in Germany, the reform includes allowing dual German citizenship, something that until now has only been possible in a limited set of circumstances.
Under its plan, the government also intends to reduce the number of years that non-Germans should live in the country before they can apply for citizenship, from eight to five years. In special cases, people who have German residency and are particularly well integrated will be able to apply after just three years.
Though the centrist, liberal FDP are part of the traffic-light coalition, the party’s general secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai has also voiced criticism over the plans. “Now is not the time for simplifying the German citizenship laws. There has not yet been any progress in repatriation and fighting illegal immigration,” Djir-Sarai told Rheinische Post.
Could Germany’s citizenship reforms be blocked in parliament?
The government’s citizenship reform plans are still in their infancy, though the German parliament has set a December date for debating the draft law in the Bundestag. Speaking to The Local in October, chair of the SPD body in the Bundestag’s interior committee, Sebastian Hartmann, said, “If the cabinet makes its expected decision in December, we should be able to complete the parliamentary procedure by summer 2023 at the latest.”
In order for the reforms to be brought into law they must first pass through votes in the Bundestag and Bundesrat. Since the CDU / CSU and FDP have now expressed grievances with the original coalition plan, it could well be the case that the reform process will stall during the voting phase.
On November 14, 2022 the CDU / CSU blocked the German government’s planned reform to replace Hartz IV unemployment benefits with the new Bürgergeld. After reaching a compromise the Bürgergeld reform was passed, but some of the original policies were scrapped or adjusted.
With the CDU /CSU and FDP now having made their reservations about Germany’s citizenship reforms clear, it seems likely that the new policy may have a similarly hard road ahead before non-EU residents in Germany can enjoy the security of dual citizenship.