The Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty) encoded the principle of citizenship of the EU, which remains in the Treaty and carries with it certain rights and freedoms for EU citizens. Yet it is a derivative citizenship status (i.e., only open to and automatically granted to citizens of Member States), which means that the Member States remain the ultimate ‘gatekeepers’ of EU citizenship. Some scholars (such as Howard 2009) see a degree of convergence of citizenship policies among EU states over time, while others (such as Koopmans et al. 2012) dispute this.
Differences in Citizenship Policies of Denmark and Germany
Citizenship is among the most important policies of a State because it encompasses the legality of a foreign individual’s permanent residency in the State. Its critical nature was derived from the fact that citizenship provides an individual with all the fundamental rights that native citizen possesses at birth. As such, the right to live in a foreign State and acquire the same equal rights provided by the adopted State is a matter of extreme importance for the lawmakers. However, citizenship policies are not universal even with the existence of multilateral agreements between the member States in an international organization such as the European Union (Banulescu-Bogdan, 2012). The discussion explores the differences in citizenship policies between Denmark and Germany. Despite the current policies put forth by the EU, the member States still consider itself as the ultimate gatekeeper. The discussion will also determine the factors leading to the change in the national citizenship policies of the member countries such as Denmark and Germany. Earlier assumptions on the perceived differences of citizenship policies of the aforementioned countries suggest that it was caused by the State’s initiative to promote social cohesion, which the prevalence of ineffective integration policies tend to disrupt.
Pressures of Europeanisation
In order to comprehend the reason behind the differences in citizenship policies between Denmark and Germany, it is important to first get an overvire of the current policies set forth by the member countries of the European Union. The pressures of Europeanisation impacts both the external and internal policies of the member States. In addition, the pressure also forced the majority of the EU countries to recalibrate their citizenship regimes as a result of conflicts, population movement, and other predominant forces in the region. Among the most influential force that help shape the citizenship policies of the EU countries is the imposition of the Visa Free regime. However, the newly structured regimes encompasses several requirements that some EU members find it difficult to comply (Shaw and Stiks, 2010). Furthermore, the member countries like Denmark and Germany encountered issues with requirements such as fighting corruption and authentication of travel documents.
Another problem that Denmark and Germany encountered with the pressure of Europeanisation is the consequences of Visa Liberalisation where a significant number of asylum seekers particularly from Serbia and Macedonia in 2010 reaching a record total of 77,000 (Kacarska, 2012). Consequently, the described problems with the Visa Liberalisation was attributed to the unbearable lightness of the policies set forth by the EU. Since both Denmark and Germany are both members of the international organization, they are mandated to comply with the Visa structure requirements. Moreover, the problem was further exacerbated by the EU’s attempt to reconceptualize the citizenship policies of the member States, which made a significant impact on the force of citizenship within the space of law (Fagan, 2013).
The Prevailing EU Citizenship Policies
In 2004, the EU released a directive indicating the right of every European citizens and their family to reside or move freely within the EU member State’s teritorial boundaries (Zincone, 2010).Apparently, the influx of free moving Europeans particularly in Denmark and Germany have create several problems with internal secuty. Such problem was linked to the approved provisions of the EU rights in 2013, which shows the objectives as follows;
o Taking down the barrier for students, trainees, and workers within the EU
o Eradicating red tape among the officials of the member State
o Protecting the vulnerable citizens of the EU members
o Eliminating the obstacles for leisure
o Promote the availability of information about the EU
o Reinforcing the participatory rights of the EU citzens in the democratic process
(EY Organization, 2014)
Consequently, aftr the free movement rights were introduced to Demark and Germany, the movement of citizens from one State to another increased annually by an average of 2.7% since 2006 (EY Organization, 2014). As the influx of immigrants in the two countries continue to rise, the implications towards the local level includes economic and social instability. Among the reasons perceived to impact the social and economic conditions of Denmark and Germany as a result of immigrant influx is the strong demand of job-seeking services considering that the large portion of the mobile EU citizens are mobilizing to find better career opportunities.
Citizenship Policies of Denmark
Among the countries in the European Union that created and integration of the EU citizenship policy with its local counterpart, Denmark is considerably the strictest policies when it comes to citizenship particularly in family reunification and settlement. For example if a couple from the United Kingdom wishes to settle in Demark and acquire a Danish citizen status, additional requirements are needed such as “attachment to the UK” (Stoltenberg, 2011). The Danish immigration authority implies that the rules were in place including the additional attachment because the Danish government is avoiding forced marriages. For instance if a Danish citizen is bringing his/her partner from outside the EU to Denmark, the latter should convincingly prove that the joint connection or relationship thereof is greater than any reasons to come and star in the country.
This means that citizenship of an immigrant should prove that the reason for staying in the country is no other than to be with the partner, which can be substantiated by marriage. If the immigration authorities felt that the reason for the citizenship application is beyond the intimate relationship with a Danish partner such as career, business, leisure, and or asylum, the citizenship will not be granted, unless the immigrants proves otherwise. For citizens of the country applying for citizenship of anyone from the other EU country, one of the strict requirements is to prove that the applicant has enough financial resources to support the immigrating individual. Anyone who is receiving public assistance or aid from the government is not allowed to bring in immigrants from whether inside or outside of the EU. In addition, a bond of no less than 100,000 Danish Kroner should be posted by the applying parties (Stoltenberg, 2011).
Immigrating parties are also required to pass the immigration test consisting of language, skills, and knowledge of the Danish culture and society. Selected countries outside the EU and people within the EU were exempted from this rule. However, the immigrating parties should also consider that the government of Denmark also is imposing the point system guideline that determines what extent of citizenship application that one can obtain depending on age. The point system on the other hand relies on the level of the Denmark citizen’s work, language, skills, and education. The higher the education attainment means higher points. The described local guidelines appear to counteract the Visa Liberalization and free movement policies implemented by the European Union.
Citizenship Policies of Germany
In comparison to the citizenship policies of Denmark, the Dutch immigration authorities offer a more diversified option of attaining citizenship. For one, Germany has a more welcoming immigration system particularly for skilled workers as the country is trying to meet the workforce demand of employers investing in the country (Howard, 2008). Residence permits are granted according to territory. This means that an immigrant can apply for residency certificate, but can only hold it effective in a specified territory. The rules implied by the Dutch policies are simple, as long as the immigrant holding the residency abides by the law, employed, and proves to be not a burden for the German social services, the immigrant can renew the residency certificate once every one to three years. For skilled workers residing in the country regardless if within or outside of the EU premises, the time required for obtaining citizenship is shorter. On the other hand, non-skilled immigrants can still obtain the citizenship status as long as the individual prove himself as self-supporting and is able to integrate successfully into the Germany society and way of life (Howard, 2008).
The path to German citizenship is rather less stressing as compared to other EU countries such as Denmark, but the path to it is gradual. Lawful residency can be granted depending on the circumstances of the applying immigrant. The required years to become citizen ranges from six to eight years depending on the immigrant’s degree of integration into the German society. The other requirements for permanent residency also includes desirability or non-involvement to any criminal act or law breaking within 30 months to fives years of stay. The subsequent accumulation of time residing in the country eventually leads to permanent residency provided that the immigrant was able to establish himself with solid status or being having self-sufficiency, a considerable degree of financial independence, housing, and an adequate health insurance (Palmer, 2013).
The Dominant Citizenship Formation
The policies pertaining to the dominant citizenship of Denmark and Germany was formed through the course of internal and external relationships and history of conflict with the neighboring States. Citizenships in both countries have evolved over time particularly with the formation of the European Union wit the first critical juncture created with the insistence of Italy to initiate the free movement of labor in 1951 (Mass, 2005). Throughout the negotiation process, one of the major propositions is to raise the specter of High Authority in Labor as the key component in the EU to oversee the migration of the people within the region. However, oppositions from the other members of EU believe that the creation of High Authority will threaten the delicate political compromises of the member States.
Hence, the new mobility rights encompass EU policy that will allow migration within the EU community for the purpose of employment. On the other hand, the new mobility rights appears to contradict article 69 of the Treaty of Paris, which requires the member country to agree in order for the workers to exercise their rights to migrate for employment purpose (Mass, 2005). Similarly, the Article 48 of the Treaty of Rome also suggests that allowing workers to migrate for employment purposes should follow the prescribed guidelines of the Treaty of Paris. Considering the nearing end of transition for the Treaty of Rome during the negotiation process, the plan to implement the free movement rights was delayed. As such, the member countries such as Denmark and Netherlands remained firm about their local mandate about citizenship grants, but on different levels of compliance.
For Demark the formation of its dominant local citizenship policies was fostered by the combination of the old laws and the integration of the more recent mandates initiated by the European Union. However, given the described restrictions imposed by the Dutch government on its citizenship policies, it is apparent that the State is limiting the effect of citizenship rights. Furthermore, the limitations set forth by the Danish government aims to limit the occurrence of sham marriages that stems and to set control on the increase of immigrants in the country (DuPass, 2015). As for Germany,the dominant notion of citizenship was shaped by the belated transformation of the country with rather complex relationship with nationhood and statehood stemming from the concept of territorial nation-state (Preuss, 2010). In addition, the history of conflict with its surrounding nations and the shame of perpetration during the World War led to the country’s transformation citizenship that gave the Dutch ethnos a significant role in conceptualizing nationhood (Preuss, 2010).
The Amount of Immigrants and Immigration Rate between Denmark and Germany
The variation in the formation of citizenship policies between Denmark and Germany has resulted to a variation in terms of volume of immigrants and the rate of immigration. According to the report from Eurostat (2012), the total immigrants received by Denmark for the year 2012 are 54,000 while Germany received 592,000 immigrants. Denmark’s immigration rate for European nationals is 36.4%, which is far lower as compared to Germany’s 50.4% of EU national immigrants. In terms of immigrants from non-EU member countries, Germany has a total of 34.6% of none-EU immigrants while Denmark only has 29.3% (Eurostat, 2012). Based from the Eurostat the statistics, it appears that the relative share of immigrants within the EU member States accounts to 50% of the total migrating population with only less than 30% were granted citizenship in Denmark while Germany granted 50% of its immigrants with permanent and or residency certificate.
Policy Debates in the State(s) over Citizenship over the Years
The perceived gap based on the statistical report on the number of immigrants and immigration rate in Denmark and Germany is still being debated within the local level and within the European Union council. The debate surrounding citizenship particularly in the two aforementioned countries suggest that the assumptions about citizenship are that it can be conferred only to the members of the community (Mindus, 2009). The lack of an individual’s affiliation to the community encompasses limitations in the acquisition of provisions and entitlements awarded by the State. The Danish ideological position on the matters of citizenry can be assumed to be purely formal because to confer citizenship to a non-Danish-born individual would mean conferring the same level of fundamental rights and privilege earned by natives Danes at birth.
Other scholars argue that the current legal framework supporting citizenship is meeting several opposing ideologies on the grounds that the current system will only bring chaos and social unrest (Mindus, 2009). Others suggests that in order to get a clear view of citizenship one should see at as ratio assendi, which would ascertain the avoidance of incompatible legal positions and multiplication. From a legal perspective, citizenship tends to avert specific situation, which can be observed in the bilateral treaties and international law that was put forth to support citizenship and its legal framework. In today’s modern times, the idea of extending the rights to non-nationals would mean answering to political obligation and legitimacy.
The central question that needs answering on the subject of whether to extend the citizenship rights to non-nationals is whether the impediment to citizenship particularly on strict countries such as Denmark violates any of the universal rights. Over the years, the Danish immigration authorities are seeing citizenship as a way of escape from unfavorable circumstance of the immigrant in his/her home State. Furthermore, emigrating from one place to another encompasses the presence of inadequacies perceived by the immigrant in his home State that he found in the adopted State. On the other hand, the Danish government believes that the inadequacies in one country are a product of lack of governance, which the local government in the immigrant’s home State should deal with. As for Germany, migration is an opportunity for the country to explore the possibilities of talent acquisition in which the accumulation of skilled workers within the State entails long-term socio-economic benefits.
Changes and Evidence of Resistance to Change over the Years
There has not been any significant changes that was made on the prevailing citizenship policies at the State level except to the added restrictions on who can and cannot obtain citizenship. The imposition of the integration policies by the European Union faces resistance among some of the members of the organization. A number of patterns are evident in terms of resistance to change over the years. For instance, Germany was once a restrictive regime when it comes to immigration as observed from history of displacement that the previous regimes had done to non-nationals. However, Germany was able to adapt to the changes with the integration of the EU citizenship charter, but the Denmark still remains at restrictive. The evidence suggesting the resistance to change by Denmark is the added provisions and requirements on immigrants applying for residency. Furthermore, it was mentioned earlier that the objective of the EU policy is to mobilize the EU population (Goodman, 2010). However, the restrictions and additional requirements were not only implemented for non-EU immigrants, but also extended the same policy towards the EU immigrants.
There are several influencing factors that differentiate the citizenship policies between Germany and Denmark and one of which is socio-economic stability. Denmark is known as one of the most financially stable States in the EU community alongside with other States like the Danish government through strong economic and social development initiative achieved Germany the state of stability. However, the struggling members of the EU communities are hoping to experience the same level of progress they perceived among the Danish society. Therefore, one of the motivations in implementing a strict immigration policy is social welfare. Denmark is very generous to its citizens and its generosity was drawn from the stability brought by fighting corruption and high performing economy. It is apparent that Denmark would want to make sure that the benefits of its hard work would be provided to the natural citizens. On the other hand, Germany is in a workforce dilemma, which explains the State’s openness in receiving immigrants.
To differentiate Denmark and Germany in terms of citizenship policies, the cause of the gap between the two countries is the level of initiative they have and the reason for wanting less people or more people in their country. Despite the integration efforts made by the EU council, the ultimate decision still remains on the State, and with every reason to deny entry will conveyed to any immigrant if the country such as Denmark deems it necessary to protect the economic and social interests of its natural-born citizens.
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