2017. 06. 15.
Ten Hungarian MEPs of the EPP Group, including Kinga Gál, submitted a written question to the Commission on Ukraine’s home affairs with regard to dual citizenship. The question and Commissioner Vice President Federica Mogherini’s reply are read below.
Subject: Internal political situation in Ukraine
Ukraine’s President Poroshenko has put a bill before the Ukrainian Supreme Council (i.e. Parliament) under urgent procedure to make dual citizenship an offence. The Supreme Council has approved it at first reading, and it will mean that any Ukrainian citizen who voluntarily takes the citizenship of another country will be stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship. The legislation is not to apply to those living in the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula or to residents of Donetsk and Luhansk who have acquired Russian citizenship.
Ukraine’s Constitution only recognises one citizenship, but at the same time the laws currently do not forbid or penalise multiple citizenship. An exception to this is Article 19 of the Public Service Law, under which people who have the citizenship of another country in addition to Ukrainian citizenship are not permitted to apply for civil service posts. Article 25 of the Constitution stipulates that nobody may deprive citizens of their citizenship against their will. Thus the bill put before the Supreme Council, apart from the fact that it would deprive several hundreds of thousands of citizens of their Ukrainian citizenship, is unconstitutional.
The bill has caused serious tensions in Ukrainian society, which already faces many problems, and it is not appropriate in a country where a state of war and an economic crisis exist. More than a hundred countries around the world have introduced a practice whereby their citizens are permitted to be citizens of other countries as well, so it is impossible to understand why, in the present situation in Ukraine and at precisely this time, there should be a desire to use this subject to launch a ‘witch hunt’.
Is it acceptable that several hundred thousand people in Ukraine should become stateless against their will?
How could the Commission influence events so as to reduce tensions?
Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the Commission
The EU encourages Ukraine as every other partner to adhere to its international commitments. The EU also encourages Ukraine to pursue a wide, transparent and inclusive consultation process in the elaboration of laws.
The Council of Europe European Convention on Nationality(1), to which Ukraine is a party, stipulates that each state shall determine under its own law who are its nationals. It addresses the principles and rules that should be followed, including a list of grounds for the loss of nationality. The rules should not be discriminatory and include the principle that statelessness shall be avoided.
Article 4 of the Constitution of Ukraine states that there is single citizenship in Ukraine, and that grounds for both acquisition and termination of such citizenship are determined by law. Article 25 of the Constitution stipulates that a citizen may not be deprived of his/her citizenship, or of the right to change it.
Article 19 of the Law on citizenship states that grounds for losing Ukrainian citizenship include an adult’s voluntary acquisition of another country’s citizenship.
However, a mechanism for implementation of these provisions has not been foreseen in the law. The legislative initiative on citizenship that the Ukrainian President put to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is still under consideration at Committee level and has not yet been approved in first reading.