I was having a night out with some friends out of London on that Friday 13th of November when a close friend of mine informed me that several terrorist attacks are ongoing in my home city. She obviously knows that I constantly travel for business and leisures to Paris so she wanted to be sure that I was safe, I was… And I rapidly called my relatives and made sure they were alright, they were…
And for some reason, I just kept on going with my night thinking that it was a replica of the Charlie Hebdo attacks which occurred a few months earlier and that I would catch up with the news the following morning.
Then, Saturday morning I watched the news and I was horrified, tears came out of my eyes as people have been killed in my “arrondissement”, shootings happened in the restaurants I used to go, in the Bataclan I used to dance in. I was devastated, it was personal… And I used to live in this area where I will have my flat…
I was in sorrow and felt helpless, I was stuck on my sofa all morning observing the number of casualties continuing to grow, watching all those sordid and creepy videos about the attacks, listening to all testimonies… I had Goosebumps and couldn’t stop thinking what if I was there in my normal night out? Terrifying…
A few hours after these events happened, the investigations led by French security forces started identifying the perpetrators of these horrible acts. They were all either French or Belgians of North & West African descents.
Knowing this, the President François Hollande announced the 16th November 2015 to the Parliament, reunited in the Congress, that he wanted to extend the withdrawal of French nationality to French with dual nationality.
By way of reminder, the French nationality law is historically based on the principles of jus soli (Latin for “right of soil”), in opposition for example to the German definition of nationality, jus sanguinis (Latin for “right of blood”).
Currently, withdrawal of nationality does not apply to French who had citizenship by descent (foreigners born in another country whose one of the parents or both is/are French at the time of his/her birth), but only to those who have been naturalised (foreigners also born in another country whom can prove residence in France during at least five years preceding the request). Therefore, this creates a distinction between two categories of French, those born in France and the others.
So now, all people with dual nationality may lose their French nationality if convicted permanently of affecting the interests of the nation or for terrorism. And that includes all dual nationals, even those born in France: this is the novelty Francois Hollande wants to implement as announced to Congress on November 16. FYI, in France 5% of the population is binational.
This measure was first implemented in 1848, at the time, a decree provided that any French who kept on trafficking or buying slaves would be deprived of nationality.
Then, During World War I the Parliament passed a special law that allowed the withdrawal of French nationality to French individuals from enemy countries convicted for acts of treason or for insubordination.
During World War II The French state pronounced collective withdrawals of French nationality under the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime to deprive Jewish refugees in France who had been naturalised of their citizenship. The law of July 22, 1940, deprived 15,154 people of their French citizenship, including approximately 6,000 Jews as well as leaders of the Resistance. Vichy first interned Jews deprived of French citizenship in concentration camps and then, after passing a Franco-German accord on July 2, 1942, began deporting them out of France towards death camps to the east. So it’s indeed a very controversial matter if we take into account the latter.
What happen after a withdrawal?
The individual may then travel to the other country of nationality, subject to possible difficulties inherent in the other State. As the latter may indeed also withdraw the nationality or invoke various means to refuse his or her return. In this case, it will then be necessary to find another country that grants a pass to the person deprived of citizenship. The individual could end up in a dead end: oblige to leave the territory having an expulsion order without being able to go to another country for lack of authorisation. He could then be forced to remain paperless in the French territory and live in a very precarious situation with no job and no rights.
What politicians think?
All political parties are obviously mixed. Firstly, French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira has submitted her resignation Wednesday after having openly criticised key aspects of the reforms promoted the government and the withdrawal of nationality terrorists. During a trip to Algiers in December, she though that the measures were ruled out by the President (which made her look quite stupid) and told Algerian Channel 3 radio that this was “a subject that will go away,” as it “created a problem for the fundamental principle that one can acquire full citizenship through residence in France.
Sarkozy (Republican party and candidate to the next general election) is in favour of the measure, Francois Fillon (Republican, ex prime minister and candidate to the next election) is against. The FN is obviously favourable as this measure has always been part of their political programme.
Then, Friday, February 5, another controversy in the National Assembly, the Green MP Cécile Duflot expresses her strong opposition to the withdrawal of nationality. She mentioned and compared it to the Vichy regime which deeply irritated some MPs but surely and also the Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
So Valls, once firmly opposed to the withdrawal, struck her:
I want to remind it: Vichy is not the Republic! It is a part of France, but this is not the Republic, and none of us can feel, in some way, committed by the acts of that regime. And as you said, very rightly, we have to get out of jeers, of approximations and caricatures, I’m only asking you, in the (bad) memories from this dark period, not to associate the will of the government, and anyone in this assembly, with this period any of us can bear.
What my Frenchies think?
According to various surveys conducted in 2015, a majority of French people expressed support for the withdrawal of nationality binational terrorists. Indeed, following the attacks of 13 November 2015, 94% of French interrogated were favourable. To be honest, if the survey was conducted the 14th of November, I understand the results…..
More generally, 66% of the French, support a citizenship withdrawal extended to all French sentenced for acts of terrorism.
But here what do they think now as to 8th February 2016:
1/ Mais qu’ils arrêtent donc d’occuper la galerie avec cette déchéance de nationalité dont tout le monde se contrefiche… Elle existe déjà dans les textes et ne concernerait qu’une poignée d’individus. En pleine crise, on n’a vraiment rien d’autre à faire ?
Can’t they stop entertaining us with this withdrawal of nationality which no one gives a sh*t for… It already exists in law and would affect only a handful of individuals. In economical crisis climate, don’t we have anything else to do?
2/ Ils abordent la déchéance de nationalité à peu près comme ils abordent tous les problèmes :
Tentative de récupération démagogique, emballement de départ sans beaucoup de réflexion, complication d’un sujet simple par de multiples circonvolutions, arbitrages, bidouillages, pataugeages pour finir par indisposer tout le monde sans satisfaire personne.
Du Hollande pur jus, quoi.
They address the withdrawal of nationality as they approach all issues:
demagogic recovery attempt, uproar without much thoughts, complication of a simple subject with multiple convolutions, arbitrations, hacks, floundering which ends up by upsetting everyone without satisfying anyone. 100% Holland.
3/ Valls, premier premier ministre de la médiocratie française, qui ne se défend qu’en déclarant intolérable, inacceptable, inadmissible, scandaleux, nauséabond… Tout avis qui n’est pas le sien !
Valls, the first minister of the French mediocrity, who defends himself by declaring intolerable, unacceptable, inadmissible, scandalous, nauseating all point of views that are not his!
4/ Si seulement nous pouvions obtenir la déchéance fiscale…! Là… Ca serait une vraie réforme structurelle…
If only we could get tax forfeiture …! That would be a real structural reform …
5/ Cette déchéance de la Nationalité, “occupent” beaucoup de monde, y compris les médias, mais n’intéresse… Absolument personne! Autant en finir en prenant n’importe quelle décision, comme d’habitude… ! Cela ne permet pas aux Français, de savoir ce qu’il se passe chez nous réellement…, peut-être est-ce le but ? Les Français sont totalement “oubliés” en ce moment, seules les élections de 2017, les intéressent… “Pauvre de nous”, encore beaucoup de tripatouillages en perspective pour occuper la “galerie”… Vivement qu’on en sorte…, pour enfin s’occuper des vraies Affaires des Français…, des choses sérieuses !
This withdrawal of nationality, “upset” a lot of people, including the media, but interests … Absolutely nobody! Sort this out, take any decision, as usual …! This does not allow the French to know what’s really happening here … in fact, maybe this is the point? The French are completely “forgotten” at the moment, only the 2017 elections interest them … “Poor us,” lots of sugar-coat to entertain the people … Roll on the vote… to finally address the real issues of the French …, serious things!
6/ Le symbole de la déchéance de nationalité est devenu pour ce gouvernement un véritable casse-tête qui l’enfonce tous les jours un peu plus dans l’amateurisme et dans la façon la plus vraie par laquelle il aborde tous les problèmes économiques et sociales de ce pays. L’exécutif a voulu compliquer ce symbole au lieu de le réaliser tel qu’il avait été défini au Congrès. Maintenant, de ” pour”, je passe “contre” cette déchéance de nationalité puisqu’une loi existe et dont il vaudrait mieux respecter telle qu’elle est écrite.
The symbol of withdrawal of nationality has become for the government a big headache that shows more and more their amateurism and more so by the way it addresses all economic and social problems of this country. The executive wanted to complicate this symbol instead of realising it as it was defined in Congress. Now, from “favourable”, I will go “against” the withdrawal of nationality, since a law already exists and that should be respected as written.
As you can see, 3 months after the attacks, we are all sick and tired of this sh**! The French population have other problems to deal with and we’d be grateful if the government could really sort this out… While they’re arguing on this matter, our economic situation has worsened:
- unemployment rate of 10%;
- 8% of the Population live below poverty line;
- the purchasing power of gross disposable income fell by 0.9%;
- The creation of micro-enterprises decreased by over 20%;
- public debt represents 89.9% of GDP;
- France’s credit rating was further downgraded by Fitch (and S&P) to the AA credit rating;
- And I’ll stop here as it is depressing…
Well, on est dans de beaux draps!