Conservatives open to dual citizenship

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After years of debate, the Norwegian Conservative Party has voted in favour of clearing the way to allow dual citizenship in Norway. Since the Conservatives hold government power, the vote on Sunday may finally allow thousands of long-time foreign residents in Norway to feel more Norwegian as well.

“This is a great victory for everyone who feels Norwegian but also without rights in a system that is bureaucratic, old-fashioned and unfair,”Daniel Skjevik-Aasberg, a board member of the Conservatives’ youth party Unge Høyre, told news bureau NTB. “Dual citizenship will provide rights to thousands of people who have strong ties to two countries.”

Unge Høyre had put forth the proposal to allow dual citizenship along with the party’s county chapters in Akershus, Oslo and Vestfold. It won majority support at the party’s annual national meeting that was held over the weekend near Gardermoen.

“Norway is almost alone in Europe in denying the right to dual citizenship as a matter of principle,” Skjevik-Aasberg said. “The principle has shown itself to be difficult to handle, since more than half of all those who apply for dual citizenship get permission (via exceptions to the law). That can be so arbitrary, and it’s often just a coincidence who gets to keep their original citizenship and who doesn’t.”

Skjevik-Aasberg now hopes that Members of Parliament for the Conservatives will follow up the majority support for dual citizenship at the party’s annual meeting, when an evaluation of dual citizenship is presented to Parliament later this spring. It was supposed to have been presented already, but has been delayed.

The Progress Party, which shares government power with the Conservatives, is also open to dual citizenship and it’s firmly supported by the Liberal, Socialist Left and Greens parties. That would give the issue, which has been gathering momentum in line with the increase in expatriates settling in Norway, a majority in Parliament.

Full parliamentary approval of dual citizenship is far from assured, however, and the Conservatives’ Prime Minister Erna Solberg has been skeptical herself. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported on Sunday that she voted against the proposal when it came up at the annual meeting.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund