Court orders citizenship law to be scrapped
Council of State deems right of migrants to become Greek unconstitutional
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.