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Norway opens doors to dual citizenship

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Norway opens doors to dual citizenship
Norway's prime minister Erna Solberg (L) and other ministers and party members vote during Høyre's annual conference. Photo: Terje Pedersen/NTB scanpix
09:20 CET+01:00
Norway’s Høyre (Conservative) Party, the largest party in the governing coalition, voted at its annual conference in favour of a proposal to allow dual citizenship in the country.

The proposal, made by the party’s youth wing Unge Høyre as well as a number of county representatives, received overall support at the conference.

“This is a huge victory for everyone who feels Norwegian, but also without rights in a system that is bureaucratic, old-fashioned and unfair. Dual citizenship will give rights to thousands of people with a connection to two countries, rights they do not have today,” Daniel Skjevik-Aasberg of Unge Høyre’s central committee told news agency NTB.

Norway is currently the only Nordic country and one of only a small handful of European nations that does not allow dual citizenship.

“Norway is almost alone in Europe in denying dual citizenship as a matter of principle. This principle has been difficult to enforce that over half of those who currently apply for dual citizenship are approved. But this is unpredictable and it is often a matter of chance whether or not citizenship is approved,” Skjevik-Aasberg said.

Donna Fox, co-founder of lobbying group ‘Ja til dobbelt statsborgerskap’ (Yes to dual citizenship) told The Local that the decision represented a “major breakthrough” for its campaign.

“Høyre´s youth party have supported dual citizenship since 2014. The grass roots lobbying of Ja til dobbelt statsborgerskap has directly influenced this result,” wrote Fox in an email.

The campaigner said that allowing dual nationality would enable people with connections to other nations to “fully integrate into Norwegian society with full democratic participation while maintaining their birth identity.”

The decision is also likely to be of benefit for Norwegians abroad, according to Fox.

“It will mean Norwegians living abroad can more easily return to live and work in Norway, bringing with them their expertise and global experience,” she wrote.

Norwegians living abroad for extended periods often find themselves denied democratic rights or forced to renounce their citizenship for employment purposes in their new countries because Norway does not allow dual citizenship, according to the lobbying group.

Skjevik-Aasberg told NTB that he hoped Høyre’s MPs would now see the proposal through when it is put before parliament during the spring session.

Ja til dobbelt statsborgerskap will now focus attention on the remaining parties that have not accepted the principle of dual citizenship during spring when the annual conferences are held, says Fox. The Christian Democrats (Kristelig Folkepartiet) and Centre Party (Senterpartiet) will be voting on the principle of dual citizenship at their annual conferences this spring.

Fremskrittspartiet (The Progress Party) is also contemplating dual citizenship, with the leader of the party’s youth wing Bjørn-Kristian Svendsrud last week calling for dual citizenship to be discussed and voted on at the party´s annual conference in May.

The Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet) has so far not taken a definite stance on the issue, saying that that it may evaluate the impact of Norway´s current singular citizenship policy in a globalised world.

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