The Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice today ruled out the compatibility of Article 20 and Article 7 of the Treaty on Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) with Denmark’s legislation providing for the loss of citizenship by operation of the law.
Based on the Danish legislation, Danish nationals who weren’t born in this EU country and never lived there risk losing their citizenship when they turn 22; according to the referring Court, this leads to the deprivation of European Union citizen status unless the person concerned holds the nationality of another Member State.
The Court of Justice said that the EU law does not prohibit its Member States from applying their own legislation. However, they must align with EU law.
“However, it is for the national authorities and the national courts to determine whether the loss of the nationality of the Member State concerned when it entails the loss of citizenship of the Union has due regard to the principle of proportionality,” the Court noted through a statement.
As a result, in order for such legislation to be compatible with the bloc’s law, the following conditions need to be met:
Persons must be given a reasonable opportunity in order to apply for retroactive retention or recovery of their nationality.
The period for lodging such an application must extend beyond the age at which the person risks losing their nationality.
“The period for lodging such an application must extend beyond the date on which the person concerned reaches the age in question and cannot begin to run unless those authorities have duly informed that person of the loss of his or her nationality or of the imminence of that loss, and of his or her right to apply, within that period, for the retroactive maintenance or recovery of that nationality,” the Court clarified.
In addition, authorities must also inform the person about the loss of their nationality as well as the right to apply for retention or recovery within a reasonable timeframe.
Denmark has among the strictest regulations in the world when it comes to naturalization requirements. Yet, earlier this year, the country announced its plans to tighten its citizenship rules again.
Based on such changes, in order to acquire citizenship in this country, a person will be required to reside in Denmark until it is confirmed through an official ceremony that follows formal approval for citizenship.
Previously, the country also imposed a fee for applicants wishing to hold Danish citizenship. The price for application for naturalisation is 4,000 Danish Krone, or €530.