Germany’s centre-right opposition party is demanding that the government halt its reform of the naturalisation process for immigrants.
The current government, led by the centre-left Social Democratic party (SPD), is looking to make it easier for migrants in Germany to become full citizens.
The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) believes that even the current naturalisation laws have not been enough to properly assimilate newcomers.
Speaking to German daily Bild, CDU Secretary-General Carsten Linnemann said that recent protests and riots in support of Hamas illustrated the failure of what he believed were lax naturalisation laws.
“The events of the past few days and weeks have shown that neither citizenship nor the mere acquisition of the German language leads to a corresponding integration into our community of values.”
He added that the “express denaturalisation” of the current government was “not the right approach and sends completely the wrong signals”.
That came as the war between Israel and terror group Hamas has opened up societal cracks across Europe.
Many European governments and European Union institutions have backed Israel following the first Hamas assault on the country on October 7, which left hundreds of Israeli civilians dead and hundreds more kidnapped.
That stance has faced a backlash in several Western European cities, with large protests taking place in support of Palestine.
While many such incidents were peaceful and criticised government positions as unbalanced, others have descended into violence and even acts of anti-Semitism.
The past week has seen France announce that there have been more anti-Semitic attacks since the war’s outbreak on October 7 than in the entire preceding year.
France is experiencing a surge in anti-Semitism following the outbreak of war between Hamas and Israel. https://t.co/I2cO6F0R1q
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) November 2, 2023
In Berlin, one pro-Palestine protest in a neighbourhood where many people of a migrant background live turned violent, with dozens of police officers injured and over 100 people arrested.
Linnemann said the German Government should focus on making “sure that incitement against Israel is not possible on our streets and that Hamas terror can no longer be publicly glorified”.
An illegal pro-Palestine demonstration in Berlin turned ugly, resulting in dozens of police officers being injured and 174 protestors arrested on Wednesday. https://t.co/1qufwiUd5n
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 19, 2023
“For the CDU it is clear: naturalisation is at the end of successful integration, not at the beginning,” he added.
The naturalisation reform, which was announced by the coalition government at the end of August, seeks to significantly alter Germany’s nationality laws.
Under the proposed changes, individuals will be eligible to apply for German citizenship after legally living in the country for five years, instead of the present eight.
One of the most contentious aspects of the reform is the introduction of the possibility of multiple citizenships for all residents. This has sparked debate and discussion about the implications of such a policy, including potential challenges related to dual citizenship.
Another controversial element of the reforms centres on children born in Germany to foreign parents.
The government aims to streamline the naturalisation process by automatically granting such children German citizenship. The only requirement is that at least one parent has been living in Germany legally for a minimum of five years and holds an indefinite residence permit.
The proposed reforms have not yet become law, as the German Bundestag must still approve the bill and there is likely to be much further debate on the issue in coming months.