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Parliamentary questions
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28 March 2014
Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-000061/2014

According to settled case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU, it is for each Member State, having due regard to Union law, to lay down the conditions for acquisition and loss of nationality. In accordance with Article 20 TFEU, granting Member State nationality also means granting EU citizenship and hence strong additional rights. Naturalisation decisions by a Member State are therefore not neutral with regard to other Member States and the EU.

The Commission expects Member States to use their prerogative to award nationality in a spirit of sincere cooperation with other Member States and the EU. Account should be taken of the norms and obligations by which they are bound under international law and the criteria upon which Member States traditionally build their nationality laws. The existence of a genuine link between the applicant and the country or its people should be a prerequisite for obtaining naturalisation.

The facilitated naturalisation procedure in Bulgaria referred to by the Honourable Member requires that the applicant is of Bulgarian origin and holds a certificate to attest of such origin(1). The facilitated naturalisation procedure in Romania applies to applicants who have lost their Romanian citizenship for reasons not imputable to them, and to their descendants up to the third degree(2). This is to be distinguished from situations where naturalisation is granted without the applicant having a genuine link with the country or its people.

Eurostat collects data on the naturalisation of third-country nationals by the Member States(3).

(1)Certificates of Bulgarian origin are issued by the State Agency for the Bulgarians Abroad, based on the merits of the application. See Article 15 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Law.
(2)Article 11 of the Romanian Citizenship Law.
(3)http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Acquisition_of_citizenship_statistics#Further_Eurostat_information It for instance appears that in 2011 Bulgaria has naturalised around 600 non-EU nationals, mainly from FYROM (44.4%) and Moldova (14.2%): http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php?title=File:Five_main_previous_citizenships_of_persons_acquiring_citizenship_in_the_EU-27,_EFTA_and_candidate_countries,_2011.png&filetimestamp=20131220085813

OJ C 294, 02/09/2014
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