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Birthright citizenship Trends and regulations in Europe

Maarten Peter Vink and Gerard-René de Groot


In this paper we use the term ‘citizenship’ to refer to the legal relation between a person and a state, as recognised in international law. This status is often also referred to as ‘nationality’, particularly in international legal documents, and whenever citing directly from such documents, or from national laws, we cite the term as used in the original document. The terms ‘citizenship’ and ‘nationality’ are thus generally used as synonyms (see also EUDO Citizenship Glossary). We also refer to State, State Party, Contracting Party, or Member State, with capital letters, only when citing directly from international or national legal documents. In all other cases we use ‘state’, ‘contracting state’, ‘member state’, or ‘country’, without capital letters.

Reference system

In this paper we use short-hand references when referring to relevant articles from national legislation. First, in line with the European Bulletin on Nationality (English edition), we use abbreviations when referring to the 33 countries included in this comparative study:

AUT = Austria;1 BEL = Belgium; BUL = Bulgaria; CRO = Croatia; CYP = Cyprus; CZE = Czech Republic; DEN = Denmark; EST = Estonia; FIN = Finland; FRA = France; GER = Germany; GRE = Greece; HUN = Hungary; ICE = Iceland; IRE = Ireland; ITA = Italy; LAT = Latvia; LIT = Lithuania; LUX = Luxembourg; MAL = Malta; MOL = Moldova; NET = Netherlands; NOR = Norway; POL = Poland; POR = Portugal; ROM = Romania; SLK = Slovakia; SLN = Slovenia; SPA = Spain; SWE = Sweden; SWI = Switzerland; TUR = Turkey; UK = United Kingdom.

Second, in line with the reference system used in the online legislative databases on modes of acquisition and modes of loss of citizenship, which can be found at the website of the EUDO Citizenship Observatory (www.eudo-citizenship.eu), we only include the articles of the citizenship law currently in force in a specific country. For example ‘NET 15(1)(b)’ refers to article 15, paragraph 1, lit. b of the Netherlands Nationality Act, as currently in force. The consolidated version of the citizenship law of each country can be found at the ‘Country Profile’ page at the website of the EUDO Citizenship Observatory. We include occasional references to old legislative provisions in footnotes, with specific mention of the year of enactment of the statute involved.

1 The European Bulletin on Nationality uses the abbreviation AUS for Austria. We prefer the more common abbreviation of AUT.

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


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