Non-citizenship, statelessness and dual citizenship: what is the way forward?

Op-Ed by Rainer Bauböck, Professor at the European University Institute and at the Central European University

News / 28.7.22

Rainer Bauböck, Professor at the European University Institute and at the Central European University, gave a keynote speech at the 2022 Summer School on National Minorities and Border Regions in the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati, Basque Country.

When talking about non-citizenship and dual citizenship, it is important to remember that both phenomena arise either from people moving across borders, meaning international migration, or from borders moving across people. This happens in cases where the states’ territory changes because of annexation or secession.

International law has changed over time by developing some norms on how these phenomena should be handled. There is a norm saying that statelessness should be avoided as much as possible, and this is also enshrined in one of the SDG. Moreover, the UNHCR set the eradication of statelessness as a goal for 2024.

One must not forget, though, that there also used to be a norm against the toleration of dual citizenship. However, that has changed completely, and we see nowadays a global trend towards increasing toleration of multiple citizenship by States. This is also certainly linked to the process of globalization since the fall of the iron curtain in the early 1990s.

Now it is time to face a new question: are we entering a new period of deglobalization, of new State protectionism, not just in trade but also in their policy of citizenship? Will this affect the way they define who the members of their countries are, and whether or not they allow them to also be simultaneously members of other States and exercise their rights across international borders?

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Coppieters Foundation is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the conferences, events or the opinions of the authors of our publications.

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