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Germany to Scrap Dual Citizen for Children!
08/Dec/2016
Angela Merkel was plunged into a new row over immigration on Wednesday when delegates at her party conference voted to end dual citizenship for the children of immigrants.

The German chancellor quickly disowned the decision by her Christian Democratic Union party (CDU), as her coalition partners said they would block it from becoming government policy.

The dispute, a day after Mrs Merkel was re-elected party leader and given an 11-minute standing ovation, threatened to mar the start of her campaign to win a historic fourth term as chancellor.

“There will be no change in the law in this parliament,” she said after the vote, in a clear rebuke to delegates. “I do not believe we should campaign on dual citizenship in the elections as we did in the past.”

In her speech to the conference on Tuesday, Mrs Merkel made a clear play for the party base who had been alienated by her “open-door” refugee policy, vowing never to repeat it and calling for a burka ban.

But the row over dual citizenship was a sign she may struggle to contain the demand for an anti-immigrant line on the party’s emboldened Right wing.

Dual citizenship is an incendiary issue in Germany, where it was not allowed until recent years, and even now is only available to citizens of other EU countries and the children of immigrants.

By a narrow majority of just over 51 per cent, CDU delegates voted to scrap laws introduced in 2014 under which the children of immigrants born in Germany are allowed to retain dual citizens as adults.

Mrs Merkel’s current coalition partners, and closest rivals in next year’s elections, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) immediately seized on the decision as a campaign issue.

“This is a bad decision,” Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD leader, said, “Mrs Merkel cannot invite in a million refugees and be cheered for it, then treat children who were born here shabbily.”

He accused Mrs Merkel of having “bought” her re-election as CDU leader at the expense of children of immigrants.

Mrs Merkel faces a delicate balancing act ahead of next year’s elections. The CDU rank and file want to ward off the threat from the far-Right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has been eroding CDU support with its anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim stance.

But analysts say the bigger threat in the elections may in fact come from the Left, where the SPD is courting the Greens and the Left Party as possible coalition partners.

The policies discussed at the CDU conference represented a clear Rightward shift from the last 12 months.

Delegates debated a tougher refugee policy, including provisions for transit zones to be set up on the German border to decide asylum requests if there is a new influx of migrants.

In terms of wider EU policy, they called for migrants rescued in the Mediterranean not to be brought to Europe, but to be returned to North Africa in order to discourage further crossings.

In proposals that are likely to be less controversial, they demanded tougher action against forced marriages and honour killings.


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