Enlarge image

German passport: "Acknowledgment of Germany's special historical responsibility"

Photo: Zoonar.com / stock photos-mg / IMAGO / Zoonar

The traffic light coalition does not want to link the acquisition of German citizenship to an explicit commitment to Israel's right to exist in the future. A corresponding regulation, which already exists in Saxony-Anhalt, had been examined by the traffic light for the whole of Germany. Following statements by experts in the Parliament's Committee on Home Affairs, this option has now been discarded.

"The question of the right to exist played an important role, especially in the hearing," SPD parliamentary group vice-chairman Dirk Wiese told SPIEGEL. "Anyone who wants to become a German in the future must acknowledge Germany's special historical responsibility for the National Socialist rule of injustice and its consequences, especially for the protection of Jewish life, as well as for the peaceful coexistence of peoples and the prohibition of a war of aggression."

That confession must be made in writing. It is "an overall legally secure solution," said the SPD politician. Which means that from the point of view of the traffic light negotiators, a model that demands an explicit commitment to Israel's right to exist would be legally shaky. "Anti-Semites will not receive German passports in the future," Wiese said. Citizenship could also be "revoked within a period of ten years".

People who want to become German citizens are already required to commit themselves to the free democratic basic order.

Amendment is to be made by the Bundestag in the first week of the session in 2024.

Negotiations on the reform initially failed last week. Detailed changes to the so-called Repatriation Improvement Act have now also been agreed. The coalition wants to get the package through the Bundestag in the first week of the new year.

"The basic prerequisite for naturalization is that you earn your own living," SPD politician Wiese continued. Exceptions are possible: "Here we will also make it clear once again that people with disabilities, single parents and pensioners fall under the hardship rule."

The Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) want to simplify the naturalisation process in principle and also allow dual citizenship in general. According to the Federal Government's draft law, immigrants will be able to become citizens after just five years of residence in Germany, provided they can make a living without state aid. So far, they have been required to live in the country for at least eight years.

For members of the so-called guest worker generation, many of whom have been living in Germany for decades, there will be relief. Proof of oral language skills should be sufficient for them in the future.