Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

NATAC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 503762
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Austria

Becoming an EU citizen

The process for long-term immigrants to acquire an EU state’s nationality must be made easier and clearer if Europe wants to sow stability and cohesion.
Becoming an EU citizen
Citizenship is what ties a person to the state. The right to citizenship is a human right and calls for the state to take a person's interests into account. In the EU this entitles the person to a specific set of rights that apply across all Member States and translates into a better quality of life.

The EU-funded project 'The acquisition of nationality in EU Member States: rules, practices and quantitative developments' (NATAC) looked at the challenges surrounding immigrants who want to become citizens of the EU. The project considered that nationality should be automatic for third generation immigrants. It should also be facilitated for second generation ones and for those who were born abroad but were raised in the country, the so-called 'generation 1.5'.

NATAC outlined EU good practices such as residency requirements of no more than five years, no requirements to renounce prior citizenship and the inclusion of citizens regardless of income level. It cautioned however against citizenship tests that excludes many, while underlining at the same time the importance of basic language skills to facilitate integration.

The project also recommended easier access for refugees, stateless persons, spouses of immigrants and minors. Importantly, it advised against excessive fees and demands for official documents, recommending a fixed time period within which cases must be decided on. The project underlined the need for civil servants in this field to deal with processing applications and justifying refusals legitimately, in writing. Lastly, NATAC called on public administrators to cooperate with migrant organisations to help immigrants process applications and improve their language skills.

By encouraging immigrants to acquire citizenship, EU states can enhance solidarity and promote inclusion for all. If this is done correctly, it will lead to more cohesive societies and better living conditions for all.

the NATAC project covered the 15 EU Member States until 2004. It provided the starting point for an online observatory on citizenship in Europe that now includes 43 states and provides academics, Sgovernments, and NGOs with comprehensive databases and reports on acquisition and loss of citizenship at http://eudo-citizenship.eu.

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