Berlin The traffic light coalition is arguing about Interior Minister Nancy Faeser’s (SPD) plans to reform citizenship law and make naturalization easier. Top politicians of the FDP are opposed to the reform, while the SPD and the Greens are sticking to it.
The co-leader of the SPD-Left, Sebastian Roloff, told the Handelsblatt: “I recommend that colleagues see themselves more as a responsible part of the coalition and not be taken in by the Union in the next campaign.” The FDP have decided moreover, “a liberal migration policy has been written on the flags”.
The Greens parliamentary group leader, Konstantin von Notz, spoke of an overdue reform that was “by no means about relativising German citizenship”. “Germany urgently needs specialists and workers who would like to come to us – and then also have the chance to stay,” von Notz told the Handelsblatt. “Anyone who does not see this and stirs up old resentments makes integration more difficult and ultimately also damages Germany as a business location.”
The Secretary General of the FDP, Bijan Djir-Sarai, had called the naturalization plans wrong and pointed out the lack of progress in repatriation and in combating illegal migration. The FDP federal deputy Wolfgang Kubicki also called for a systematic deportation of migrants who are obliged to leave the country before modernizing citizenship law, but also for faster asylum procedures and a performance-related immigration law.
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“Anyone who lowers the naturalization hurdles before these things have been clarified and implemented sends a completely wrong signal,” Kubicki told the Handelsblatt. “Our coalition partners will have to learn here that the entire coalition agreement applies and not just the passages that suit them.”
Scholz promotes reform of citizenship law
With their critical stance, the Liberals are clearly opposed to their coalition partners SPD and Greens. Because the traffic light parties had agreed in their coalition agreement that foreigners in Germany can more easily obtain German citizenship. Interior Minister Faeser is now driving the issue forward. A ministry spokesman told the Handelsblatt that the draft of a corresponding law will “soon” go through the internal government departmental vote.
In a guest article for the “Tagesspiegel”, Faeser confirmed the coalition plan: foreigners who have a qualified right of residence should be able to obtain citizenship after five years instead of the eight years previously. In the case of “special integration achievements”, this should even be possible after three years – for example if immigrants have shown special academic or professional achievements or voluntary commitment or have particularly good language skills.
“With the new nationality law, we are therefore creating incentives for integration instead of building up hurdles and demanding long waiting times,” wrote the minister.
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Backing came from Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The SPD politician said in his podcast that many women and men who came to the Federal Republic had contributed to the German economy being so strong. If those who have lived in the Federal Republic for a long time decide to acquire German citizenship, that is a good thing. But Germany needs better regulations for the naturalization of these “great women and men”.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz emphasized on ARD television that immigration into the labor market is important. However, immigration into the social systems must be prevented. The Union will only agree to necessary improvements in citizenship law. The regional group chairman of the CSU in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, spoke of a “sale” of German citizenship.
DIW President sees SPD plans as “an important element in making Germany more attractive to foreign skilled workers”
The SPD and the Greens see no reason to move away from Faeser’s plans. The SPD politician Roloff said: “The fact that we are now implementing the progressive topics that we were able to record in the coalition agreement in this area should not surprise anyone.”
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His parliamentary colleague Ralf Stegner added: “One of the main justifications for this progressive coalition” is a “progressive and modern immigration policy”, which has so far been blocked by the conservatives. “We will also implement this, not least in order to effectively combat the shortage of skilled workers.”
This is also the argument of the President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher. “Germany’s skilled labor problem will be exacerbated massively by demographics and increasing competition for the brightest minds if politicians don’t act much more decisively than before,” he told the Handelsblatt. “A clear perspective on nationality is an important element in making Germany more attractive for foreign skilled workers.”
More: Measure against shortage of skilled workers – FDP demands English in offices.