Court or­ders cit­i­zen­ship law to be scrapped

Coun­cil of State deems right of mi­grants to be­come Greek un­con­sti­tu­tional

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The Coun­cil of Stateyes­ter­day deemed un­con­sti­tu­tional a law passed al­most three years ago which al­lows sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion mi­grants to ap­ply for Greek cit­i­zen­ship and to stand in lo­cal elec­tions.

Greece’s high­est ad­min­is­tra­tive court ruled that only Greeks could stand for of­fice. It also de­cided that the cri­te­ria for of­fer­ing Greek cit­i­zen­ship were not suf­fi­cient and that each case should be ex­am­ined in­di­vid­u­ally to en­sure the ap­pli­cant has a gen­uine bond with Greece.

Known as the Ragousis law af­ter former In­te­rior Min­is­ter Yian­nis Ragousis, the cit­i­zen­ship law was rat­i­fied by Par­lia­ment in early 2010, al­low­ing those who had been born to im­mi­grant par­ents legally liv­ing in Greece for at least five years to be granted Greek cit­i­zen­ship pro- vided they had stud­ied at a Greek school for a min­i­mum of six years.

The Coun­cil of State’s de­ci­sion could mean that some of those who were granted Greek cit­i­zen­ship in the last three years will lose their rights. It is not clear if the rul­ing will af­fect the out­come of lo­cal elec­tions in 2010.

Greece had stopped grant­ing cit­i­zen­ship un­der Ragousis cri­te­ria law in De­cem­ber, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the court rul­ing be­ing made pub­lic. The de­ci­sion irked coali­tion part­ners PASOK and Demo­cratic Left.

Deputy In­te­rior Min­is­ter Har­alam­bos Athanas­siou said last month that the law would be re­placed with leg­is­la­tion that would re­quire mi­grants to show a “gen­uine bond” with Greece and prove they had as­sim­i­lated into Greek cul­ture.

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