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Maarten Peter Vink and Gerard-René de Groot

father and a non-Danish mother. Danish law does not provide for the possibility to register this child as Danish citizen on application of her or his father or mother (DEN 2).

To conclude this section, limiting the transmission of citizenship for children born abroad is, as such, legitimate, in light of the genuine link principle underlying international citizenship law. However, we would raise two caveats.

First, limitations are justified, but should not cause statelessness. For that reason, and also in line with the recent Recommendation 2009/13 on the nationality of children, from the Council of Europe, it would be desirable for Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Portugal and the United Kingdom to provide for an acquisition ex lege if the child born abroad would otherwise be stateless.

Second, an alternative to limiting the transmission of citizenship at birth is the provision for the loss of citizenship if a citizen habitually resides abroad and no longer has a sufficient genuine link with the state involved. Such ‘loss’ provisions exist in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland (De Groot and Vink 2010: 28-32). Belgium, remarkably, limits the transmission of citizenship in case of birth abroad, but uses also this ground for loss. From our perspective, a provision on the loss of citizenship due to the lack of a sufficient link is to be preferred to limiting the transmission of citizenship in case of birth abroad. After all, the ‘loss’ alternative gives to the child the possibility to decide for herself or himself whether to develop a link with the state of her or his ancestors in order to retain her or his inherited citizenship. In that case, it is desirable to grant the child a reasonable period after having attained the age of majority to establish significant ties with the state of his inherited citizenship in order to keep this citizenship.

On the other hand, one has to realize that almost the same result can be reached by granting an option right or a right for registration to children who did not acquire the citizenship of their parent because of their birth abroad (as in Slovenia). If the acquisition of citizenship by a child born abroad depends on an action to be undertaken by a parent (e.g. registration) or on developing significant ties whilst the child is still a minor (e.g. a period of residence in the country of the inherited citizenship before the age of majority) without compensating this with an option right to (re)acquire the citizenship after having attained the age of majority, parent(s) are given considerable power to determine the citizenship position of the child. More attention is needed for the representation by parents of their children in citizenship matters (see De Groot 2003; De Groot and Vrinds 2004).

3 Establishment of family relationship (A04)

After the near-completion of the equal treatment of women in citizenship law in the 1980s (‘near’ because Switzerland still made an exception for mothers who acquired Swiss citizenship by marriage until 2006, discussed above), since the 1990s most attention in matters of ius sanguinis application has, paradoxically, been directed at improving the status of men, particularly with regard to the transmission of citizenship in cases of children born out of wedlock or adopted. During the last two decades modifications to allow fathers to pass on their citizenship iure sanguinis to children born out of wedlock were made in Germany

  • (1993)

    , Luxembourg (1987), Iceland (1998), Denmark (1999), Sweden (2001), the UK

  • (2002)

    , Finland (2003) and Norway (2006) and the Netherlands (2009) (De Groot 2005: 196–

7; De Hart and Van Oers 2006: 344).


RSCAS/EUDO-CIT-Comp. 2010/8 - © 2010 Authors

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