There’s nothing better for livening up all this dull, wonkish chatter about the German elections than a bit of CDU-bashing. So, how shall I bash them today? Oh, I know! How about this: they’re a shower of xenophobe racists.

Yes, yes; not exactly news, is it? What is news, though, is that the Union appears to value xenophobia even more than it does winning elections.

The backstory is this. There are, as you know, lots of Turks in Germany. They first came as Gastarbeiter, the idea being that they’d spend some years here doing the jobs the Germans wouldn’t take, then head off back to their distant homeland. What happened, of course, is that lots of Turks put down roots here; they never left. In some cases they are now in their third generation in Germany.

Third generation or no, until fairly recently they wouldn’t have been Germans. Even if born and raised in Stuttgart and speaking nothing but German (if one can call what Stuttgarters speak ‘German’), they’d remain Turks — foreigners in the eyes of the law. And what’s more, no matter how many generations they’d been here, they had no legal claim to become German citizens.

After many years’ legal residence, a non-German could apply for naturalisation. But this was a so-called Kann-Vorschrift. That is, the Internal Ministry was permitted, but not required or even expected, to approve the application. Naturalisation was at the ministry’s sole discretion. (If the foreigner had married a German, the waiting time was reduced, and here the law was a Soll-Vorschrift: the applicant still had no legal claim, but absent a good reason to reject the application the ministry was expected to approve it.)

Then, a few years ago, the SPD/Green government modified this embarrassingly racialist citizenship law. The waiting period has been reduced all round, applicants have a right to naturalisation if they fulfil the legal requirements, and those born here to non-German parents are, as long as their parents had lived here legally for a specified period, automatically German. It’s still not the pure jus solis regime that most civilised countries have long since adopted, but it’s a good deal better than it used to be. The Union went apeshit, of course.

Anyway, what we now have is a lot of Germans who were born as Turks, either in Turkey itself or in Germany to Turkish parents. And a fair few of these new Germans — about 700,000 of them — are entitled to vote this Sunday. They would never have become Germans at all, if the Union had been able to do anything about it. It’s a no-brainer, isn’t it, that German voters of Turkish descent are going to mark their ballot papers overwhelmingly in favour of the SPD?

It is. The Spiegel reports on a poll by Hürriyet that shows the following breakdown among Turkish-descended voters:

  SPD              77.0%
  Green            9.2%
  Left Party      7.8%
  CDU/CSU      4.8%
  FDP              1.2%

But there’s more to it than that. The Turks in Germany are on the whole a pretty conservative lot, especially on ‘family values’ issues. For many of them, the CDU should be a natural home, as a Turkish-descended Green politician admits in this article on the Union’s curious inability to attract the Turkish vote.

‘Well, except for the “C” part,’ you might be saying. But there you’d be wrong. Yes, committed conservative Christians gravitate to the Union. But then, there aren’t very many such people in Germany. (And some committed Christians bitterly complain that, with its ‘C’, the Union is flying a false flag.) Most Germans, including many CDU supporters, are merely nominal Christians. The party itself has stated that Germany’s few non-Christians should not view the ‘C’ as a barrier; Michel Friedmann, who was prominent in the CDU before he got on Helmut Kohl’s bad side, is a Jew. (He’s also a bit of a pompous moralist who later, like fellow pompous moralist William Bennett, came a cropper in a highly entertaining incident. Indeed, Friedmann’s incident was even more entertaining than Bennett’s. But that is a story for another day.) So you’d think the Union would be at pains to attract the votes of Turkish-descended Germans.

That’s what some of the handful of Turkish-descended CDU supporters thought, anyway. They wanted to mount an aggressive campaign for Turkish votes. But the party disagreed. What on earth is the party thinking, you may ask, given the natural conservatism of many Turks and the potentially decisive number of votes at play in a very close election? Well, the answer is really quite simple. Party leaders might be glad enough of votes from Turkish Germans, but they know that CDU voters in general don’t want Turks around the place. As CDU General Secretary Volker Kauder admitted, making overtures to Turkish-descended Germans ‘would get me into trouble with my base.’ The Union won’t refuse the votes of Turks, but it’s not going to do much to attract them either. The ‘real’ Germans at the core of the party’s support wouldn’t like that. And anyway, if the Union had had anything to say about it, those people wouldn’t be Germans to begin with.

And it’s doing its best to de-Germanise them where it can. Another Spiegel report tells of efforts to chase down Turks who were naturalised as Germans and then re-acquired their old Turkish citizenship as well. Even today, German law frowns on dual nationality. To become Germans, these Turks had to renounce their Turkish citizenship, which they duly did. Renouncing Turkish citizenship has its disadvantages, though. (For example, you forfeit any real property in Turkey that you would otherwise have inherited.) So a number of these new German citizens then applied for a new Turkish passport. (Turkey is pretty accommodating about that sort of thing.) Under German law, these Germanised Turks lose their German citizenship if they later acquire another nationality (including their old Turkish one). Until very recently, though, everybody pretty much turned a blind eye to this.

Not any longer. The CDU, taking a page from their Republican soulmates in America, have raised hue and cry that the election will be stolen by illegal voters. The internal ministers of the Länder (most of them from the Union) have been cracking down hard. They’ve been trying to identify German/Turkish dual nationals, in part by asking them to step forward ‘so the state can help them regularise their situation.’ But those who take the state governments at their word have found that regaining German citizenship may well be impossible. (In fairness, I should note that some of the few non-Union state internal ministers are also trying to round up dual nationals, though apparently with an eye to saving money more than anything else.)

With relatively little effort, the Union could attract a lot of votes from Germans of Turkish extraction. Apparently, though, this number would be outweighed by the number of current Union voters who’d be angered to see their party treating these 700,000 like the German citizens they are. Yes, pretty much everything the Union does that relates even tangentially to Turks — be it their a priori rejection of even eventual Turkish EU accession or their agitation to prohibit the headscarf — is guaranteed to alienate Turkish-descended Germans. But the leaders of the Union are not idiots; they can do their electoral sums. And they have concluded, no doubt correctly, that abandoning cheap xenophobic populism might gain them some votes from Turkish-descended Germans, but would lose them far more votes from typical supporters of the Union.

Fair enough. Few politicians put principle before power. And, in most circumstances, 700,000 votes won’t be decisive. Even without those votes, Angela Merkel is probably going to be chancellor, either as head of the Union/FDP government she’s hoping for or as part of a grand coalition. But it’s still possible she’ll fail. If she does, and if the votes of those Turkish-descended Germans could have made the difference, will the CDU regret that it didn’t do more to win them?

If I know the CDU, probably not. If they react at all, it will be to undo the current coalition’s half-hearted reform of citizenship laws to ensure that those awful dusky people can’t call themselves German in the first place.

33 thoughts on “Unwanted

  1. Socially conservative ethnic groups voting left is a widespread phenomenon. US blacks don’t support abortion rights or gay marriage (ask your local preacher!) but redistribution matters more to these voters than social policies. The Turks would vote SPD under any conceivable circumstances.

    And the rest of this diatribe seems to be a suggestion that one of the negotiated compromise provisions for the new citizenships laws – that dual nationality was banned – just shouldn’t be enforced in practice (or that it’s too embarrassing to insist on ex post). Do I remember at other times that this site has been a strong advocate for sticking with negotiated commitments even long after their agreement, and even when parts of them are unpalatable or unpopular?

  2. I have to agree with otto. It is an internationally accepted right of states to set their own parameters on who can gain citizenship, pursuant to human rights obligations that those states have entered in to. One can argue that dual-nationality should be accepted in Germany, but that is not the law. Unless you can prove that the law in this case is being enforced in a patently discriminatory manner, I’m not sure that you have a case here in the legal or even moral sense.

    Also, a question. My grandfather speaks Platt Deutsch, grew up in Minnesota and was educated in German-speaking schools until these were closed down during WWI. His family migrated from East Prussia in the 1840s. I have some facility with German and might be able to pass written and conversational exams in German. Can I get German citizenship?

  3. As you mention the Republicans, as far as I know Arnie has kept his Austrian passport when he became American citizen, even though this isn’t allowed under American law. Especially when you’d like to get the law changed so that he can also run for president.

  4. @Hektor
    As far as I understand the law (I am not a lawyer) you are in pretty much the same situation that a Russian or Pole with German ancestors is in. So it seems likely you would qualify for citizenship.

    Not sure if it makes a difference that you are American rather than Russian.

    Though I understand that Ireland, for example, has similar laws that allow the decendants of emigrants to regain citizenship.

  5. Upon naturalisation in the US, the original citizenship is lost. As is normally the case in Germany. Children born to a naturalised US citizen are US citizens. Even if before the naturalisation the parent had been German. For children before naturalisation matters become very, very complicated. Consult a lawyer.

    German citizenship is not that complicated, just different.
    1. If one of your parents is German when you are born, you are German
    2. If you seek any other citizenship you lose the German citizenship
    3. If you are naturalised you have to give up your old citizenship (usually)

    The ethnic Germans from eg. Russia are different because they never renounced the German citizenship voluntarily.

  6. A of course, BILD, Germany’s redoubtably right-wing tabloid, copmments with a hard-hitting headline:
    “Will Turks decide the election?”


    Obvious parallels to Stoiber’s equally (in)famous statement about Easterners deciding the election.

  7. Hektor; it is not morally defensible to deny 3d generation immigrants the right to vote. A state which denies lifelong residents the right to vote is not fully democracic.

  8. As I understand it, US policy on dual citzenship was once strict – if you took US citizenship, you had to renounce others – but now is more ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.

  9. David,

    I agree with you that 3rd generation immigrants should have the right to vote. My point was merely that Germany is not obligated legally or morally to respect dual citizenship, and if German citizens choose to get Turkish citizenship because of discriminatory Turkish laws, that’s Turkey’s problem, not Germany’s.

  10. Otto (and perhaps even Hektor) might be surprised to learn that I largely agree with them on the dual-nationality question. That is, I don’t think German law should have a cow over this; but the law being what it is, it ought to be enforced.

    Otto will need to point out for me those parts of my little diatribe (most of it, apparently) in which I argue against the enforcement of this law, or any other I find inconvenient. No, my point was not prescriptive but merely descriptive: that the Union itself couldn’t be arsed much about this law’s enforcement, until it thought there might be an electoral penalty for not doing so.

    But the really beautiful part of Otto’s analysis is his explanation why the Turks will, under any conceivable circumstances, vote SPD (and, for that matter, why American blacks vote Democratic): sure, they might be socially conservative, but when you come right down to it what really matters to them is laying about sucking on the teat of the welfare state.

    Now strictly speaking, I can’t exclude the possibility that the run of German Turks and American Blacks really do make their political choices because they do in fact lust for ‘redistribution’. No, it’s only Occam’s Razor that bids me reject this explanation. America and its Republicans are the easy example. Blacks (and Otto might simply not know this) were Republican to a man well into the 20th century. Despite the delicious irony of the fact, the Republicans really were once the Party of Lincoln, the Democrats the party of treasonous southern bigots. Times change. American Republicans certainly are enemies of ‘redistribution’ (or, more precisely, are champions of a very different redistribution for the benfeit of a very different, much smaller group). It’s possible that blacks overwhelmingly reject the Republicans because voting Republican would go against their interest in redistribution. The simpler explanation, though, is that blacks are not stupid, and are not going to give their votes to the party of Karl Rove, Lee Atwater and the ‘Southern Strategy’.

    And Germany’s the even easier example. Does Otto seriously wish to maintain that the Union is the stern enemy of redistribution, a strong-jawed champion of laisser-faire libertarianism? If ‘redistribution’ is the standard, the Union is pretty nearly as bolshie as the SPD. Otto might think it pointless for the Union to woo Turks because Turks only want ‘redistribution’ anyway. This is ludicrous; they could have all the redistribution anybody could ask for from the Union. No, the general secretary of the party for whch Otto is acting as apologist is much more honest about why his party won’t go out of its way to attract likeminded Turkish Germans: his ‘Stammklientel’ wouldn’t put up with it.

    I should note, BTW, that though I have no love for the Union (maybe you’ve picked up on this), I have to say it could well be for the best if Black/Yellow do, as they probably will, displace Red/Green (and in any event Black/Yellow would be vastly preferable to a grand coalition). And if there must be a Union government, then Merkel is, to my mind, by far the least bad option to lead it, precisely because she would go much farther in the direction of reform than any other CDU/CSU honcho would dream of going. (Who knows? She might even manage to go, say 30%-40% as far as Tony Blair did, assuming her party allows her to go that far.)

    But all that said, were I a German citizen I would not be able to bring myself to cast a vote for the Union. Even if agree with many of their specific ideas, a party that plays the völkische card as the Union does is simply not a morally viable choice.

    And I have no great love for the SPD either. Of Germany’s four main parties, the SPD are in many ways farthest from my own way of thinking; certainly farther than is Angela Merkel. Yet I do not detest them as I do the Union, precisely because the SPD do not make a policy of exploiting ethnic-nationalist xenophobia. They’re simply bad at economics.

    (I’ll also note that the German party closest to my way of thinking — much closer than is the Union — is the FDP. And, whereas I merely detest the Union, I despise the FDP; in large measure because they are happy to serve as the Union’s willing bitch.)

    On another note, I don’t think Hektor’s grandda would get Hektor German citizenship. Leaving aside the special category of ‘Germans who do not currently possess German citizenship’ — these would be your Volksdeutsche from Russia and whatnot — Germany has no ‘granny rule’. (Indeed, given that Hektor’s ancestors emigrated in the 1840s, strictly speaking there was at the time no ‘Germany’ to be citizen of.) But, in the other direction, assuming Germany would grant Hektor citizenship, though the Germans would make him renounce his US citizenship, the US would not. The US used to hate dual nationality, and I’m pretty sure they’ll still make you renounce other citizenships on being naturalised in the US (though they do not follow this up as assiduously as the Germans). But they gave up a while ago trying to make people who are dual nationals by birth choose between their citizenships, and these days it is no longer an expatriating act for a US citizen to acquire an additonal citizenship by naturalisation.

  11. “and if German citizens choose to get Turkish citizenship because of discriminatory Turkish laws, that’s Turkey’s problem, not Germany’s.”

    And isn’t this one of the perfect problems for resolution during all those complex negotiations we’re about to have with Turkey.

    @ Otto

    “Do I remember at other times that this site has been a strong advocate for sticking with negotiated commitments”

    I think you are referring to me here. I’d have to think carefully about how this relates to the current case, but the most important point I’d make is that Afoe is not a monolith, there is no site ‘line’ in that sense (god forbid), so there is no reason why Mrs T should agree with me.

    Just for the record :).

    “US blacks don’t support abortion rights or gay marriage (ask your local preacher!) but redistribution matters more to these voters than social policies”

    Yes, but the Republicans do seem to have been more succesful in appealing to migrant groups like hispanics.

    I think Mrs T has an important point here. The traditional ‘conservative’ parties are challenged to accept the new ideas of national identity – the UK conservative party would be another example, and it is curious how they don’t find the way to connect on the moral and family issues.

    Here in Spain the PP seems to have encouraged migration from Equador whilst discouraging it from Morocco, whereas in terms of base values they may well have had more appeal to the latter group if they could overcome their historic antipathy to the ‘moros’.

    I think this is a pending agenda for the CDU, and they will never convince on the geopolitical level until they can resolve this. I mean basically Joschka Fischer is more in harmony with George Bush than Merkel is on this kind of question, which is, well, weird.

  12. And isn’t this one of the perfect problems for resolution during all those complex negotiations we’re about to have with Turkey.

    That is a problem without whose resolution Turkey shouldn’t have gotten the agreement it is enjoying today.

  13. I’ll be brief:
    Mrs T.
    1. You dont argue that the dual-citizenship aspect of the german citizen laws should not be enforced, but you do pathologise those who are trying to enforce them on the basis of their so doing.
    2. I suggest, rather blandly for all the outrage it produced, that those in worse positions in the labour market tend to want more redistribution (German Turks have about 22.7% unemployment – see URL) and frequently prioritise this over social goals. http://www.sase.org/conf2001/papers/pecoud_antoine.pdf
    (The same is true of e.g. working class voters in the UK. Redistribution dominates vote choice among the poor. I dont think right parties are ever going to get many votes from groups with 22% unemployment. The fact that US blacks voted Republican when the only alternative was Jim Crow is not a convincing counter argument.
    3. The CDU believes in redistribution – to their labour-market insider supporters. Not to the poor or unemployed. See Esping-Andersen “Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism”.
    4. Just a little teasing…

  14. Otto,

    I’ll be even briefer.

    You state that Turks will not vote other than SPD under any conceivable circumstances. You state that this is because of their desire for ‘redistribution’. You cite a Turkish unemployment rate of just under 23%.

    Hürriyet finds that 77% of German Turks plan to vote SPD. That leaves your explanation short 54% of them.

    I don’t think the Union are going to win over 90% of Turkish Germans any time soon. But it would take very little effort indeed to attract a damned sight better than <5%. Why won’t the Union make that effort, I wonder? Well, no need to wonder; Volker Kauder tells us why.

    And I don’t pathologise the Union for trying to enforce a given law. That’s (at the very most) merely a symptom. I pathologise them — or rather, they pathologise themselves — on different grounds altogether.

  15. 1. You use the CDU’s enforcement of this law as evidence for pathology. Indeed that is the main example of your post.
    2. “Hürriyet finds that 77% of German Turks plan to vote SPD. That leaves your explanation short 54% of them.” Please. The unemployment rate is an indicator of the group-as-a-whole’s overall position in the labour market, affecting of course many who are employed and certainly their families.

  16. Actually, Otto, the key bit of evidence in my post was Kauder’s remark. CDU enforcement of the prohibition against dual nationality is, as I noted above, at most only quite minor evidence of their pathology.

  17. Ah, I see now what happened.

    “BTW, that should have read ‘…a damned sight better than less-than sign 5%'”

    For some reason actually using the sign causes everything following in the sentence to disappear.

  18. Ok. First of all you do not lose your other citizenship when you become a US citizen. Trust me on that. People born in the US cannot be stripped of their citizenship against their will. Period. Plenty of people (like myself) are born with extra citizenship. You can serve in a foreign army, in a foreign government, doesn’t matter. I at one point had the rights to five passports. The US wouldn’t have cared. Naturalized citizens can lose their citizenship if it is proven they lied on their application.

    Secondly, to Hektor and the other defenders of German dual citizenship policies – would you like to see them applied to the hundreds of thousands of dual citzenship ethnic Germans in and from Upper Silesia. That population tends to be rural. Polish law bars foreigners from owning land. Poland is also poor meaning that people try to work abroad. Seeing as it makes life easier to work legally, most ethnic Germans have picked up German citizenship. There was also a large scale emigration in the late eigties and early nineties. Most of these people also preserved their Polish citizenship while becoming German.

    Third, the idea that the old law wasn’t a racial one, that it simply gave citzenship back to those that had never renounced it is a bad joke. It was explicitly designed as a racist law back in the late Kaiserreich, primarily to keep out those dangerous Ostjuden and Slavs. The ancestors of ethnic Germans over in Romania or Russia or wherever never actually had German citizenship – it didn’t exist back in the day.

  19. Edward,

    Your comment about Spain is puzzling. Franco (the spiritual ancestor of much of the PP) as I recall was very much in favor of bringing Moroccans into the country. Didn’t he use Moroccan troops heavily in the Spanish civil war?

    Maybe it’s more effort than it is worth to get into the mind of your average PP bigot, but what is it about Equadorans that makes them better than Morrocans? Is this a triumph of religion over racism?

    Mrs. T,

    I am a little surprised, but perhaps I should not have been. I’ll never understand the descent and blood purity idea in Germany, a place with no natural borders, massive population movements throughout its history, and ruinous wars that depleted its native population. It’s pretty discouraging that it still has such a hold over rightists in Germany.

    Everyone who commented: thanks for the clarification on the citizenship question. I don’t seriously consider it, but I get curious, especially when the descendents of people who left “Germany” at the invitation of Catherine the Great can get German citizenship.

  20. MarekNYC,

    I want to disentangle two different ideas here. I agree with everyone who posted here that the old German citizenship law was ridiculous and offensive, limiting citizenship to descent.

    I actually think it would be better if more people had multiple citizenships, but my point is that states are not obligated, either morally or legally, to respect it. In the cases mentioned, Turks in Germany and Germans in Poland, the problem is Turkish or Polish law, which is blatantly discriminatory against foreigners. I think as much effort should be put into changing those laws as pushing Germany to accept dual citizenship.

  21. Not religion, blood. AFAIK those equadorans can only “return” if they are of spanish descent. Surprisingly most will find out that their grandmother was Spanish when they go to city hall for proof. And that has nothing to do with the filled envelop they hand over 🙂

  22. The turks will be rich small businessmen by the time the CDU can live with the new national identity and thus would vote on another party than the CDU

  23. @ Hektor

    “Your comment about Spain is puzzling. Franco (the spiritual ancestor of much of the PP) as I recall was very much in favor of bringing Moroccans into the country. Didn’t he use Moroccan troops heavily in the Spanish civil war?”

    I think this is a complicated picture. What you say is true, but Franco didn’t actually limit himself by the need to be coherent. There is a thing here called the ‘folkloric’ or the ‘picaresque’. I think the Franco people were quite happy to have picture-postcard soldiers (like the Brits and the Gurkas), but having them come and live as your neighbour was quite another thing.

    The same sort of issue arises with Flamenco, which is, after all, rooted in Spain’s gypsy culture. Lola Flores was famously friendly with Franco, while in the popular culture of the era virulent anti-gypsy racism was quite evident.

    Now on this:

    “Maybe it’s more effort than it is worth to get into the mind of your average PP bigot, but what is it about Equadorans that makes them better than Morrocans? Is this a triumph of religion over racism?”

    I’ve been digging around this morning, mainly in connection with the Ceuta and Mellila issue that comes up in Doug Muir’s post. I found this, which I really recommend:


    Incredibly it is in english, and it is a really good summary of a little known story. You will find this included:

    “Without ignoring that part of that process of accumulation of stocks of undocumented migrants was probably the result of the incapability of state agencies to enforce the strict policies of border control formally in place, we should also consider the possibility that over this period Spanish authorities may have tried to combine compliance with strict border control policies for some flows (particularly from Africa), with a relatively more lax attitude in relation to other groups (specifically from Latin America and Eastern Europe), in order to cater for the perceived needs of certain sections of the economy.

    The number of Latin American migrants living in Spain multiplied by fourteen between 1997 and 2005, and that of Eastern Europeans by more than twenty, while the number of immigrants coming from the African continent over the same period increased a little bit less than five times. These differences in the growth rate of different immigrant communities were to a large extent the result of border control policies implemented by Spanish authorities. In this vein, Moroccans, traditionally the most numerous group among the foreigners from developing countries became second in the ranking of immigrant communities after the year 2000 (with some 14.2% of the total foreign population). This change in the relative position of North Africans was fundamentally the consequence of a massive arrival of immigrants from Latin America (notably from Ecuador, which became the largest community representing 14.6% of the foreign population, but also from Colombia, Argentina and Bolivia), and Eastern Europe (Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, etc.).

    There is more:

    The attitude of the Spanish authorities with respect to the policing of the borders changed substantially in the early 90’s. The 15th of May of 1991, coinciding with the expiration of the 1964 agreement with Morocco, and the 1966 agreement with Tunisia for the mutual suppression of visas, the Spanish government reintroduced the requirement of visas for nationals of countries from North Africa. This change in the policy of visas was again clearly related to the EU, for the closure of the external borders appeared as a precondition for the incorporation of Spain into the Schengen agreement.

    That change in the visa policy with North Africa resulted in the need to reinforce the control of the external borders, especially in the cases of Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish enclaves in the North African coast, and the only land borders between the EU and Morocco. In the following years, and up to the present, Spanish authorities invested considerable amounts of money and resources in trying to build an effective system of border control around those two cities. That system included the building of a road around the perimeter of the enclaves, together with the installation of a double barber-wired fence 3.2 meters high, ditches, turrets, thermal sensors, and infrared cameras supporting the patrolling of the Guardia Civil. Since the end of 1998, the Army was also called in to patrol the border.

    For the Spanish authorities, the responsibility of exercising a strict control over those borders derived from the compromise acquired by Spain with its European partners to implement a strict policing of the external border of the Union. This idea of fulfilling a European mission was clearly reflected in the requests by Spanish authorities for the EU to co-finance that policing effort, demand that was responded positively, with the allocation of EU funds to the strengthening of the borders in Ceuta and Melilla.

    So what our authors are saying is in fact absolutely incredible. ‘Fortress Ceuta and Melilla’ was built because it could be subsidised with EU money, and gives the impression of Spain holding back the ‘African Hordes’, meanwhile in Barajas airport Madrid they were waving people through as fast as they could.

    As I indicate, this is not only racism (although it is ignorant racism, since the majority of the people coming from Ecuador while they are Spanish speaking are from the indigenous population, so really, to be consistent racists they should be opposing them too. I think they are just waking up to this), but is practical efficiency stupidity. The Moroccan population which is coming to Spain has much more in common with the PP social agenda – the family, alchohol etc – than the Ecuadorian population does. Obviously the key factor is that they have a different religion. But this is why I so essentially agree with Mrs T here, I just don’t see how these right-of-centre parties can hope to become serious government parties on a stable basis until they can look at and address their problems in this area.

    One last interesting detail, the linked paper has an incredible graph (on page 9 Adobe Acrobat) which shows how the underground economy has been effectively steadily rising (as a % of GDP) in Spain since the late 70s.

    Really all this should become a post, maybve one day it will :).

  24. “Not religion, blood. AFAIK those equadorans can only “return” if they are of spanish descent. Surprisingly most will find out that their grandmother was Spanish when they go to city hall for proof.”

    No, as I’m saying, if you read the paper you will see that this isn’t the case. Most got in because Spain didn’t require visas. They came as tourists. This ‘blood’ issue mainly affects footballers and is to do with FIFA regulations for community and non-community players. There is a big difference between the Argentinian and Chilean political refugees of the 70s, who were largely of Spanish descent, and the new wave post 2000 which comes from Ecuador, Dominican Republic (largely of African origin), Columbia, Peru and Bolivia. In the main these are from indigenous populations. There was a big wave of Argentina economic migrants following the 2001 economic crisis, but I think this has now largely subsided.

    Anyone who is interested in the other – submerged economy – issue. I just found the paper which outlines the methodologies used to derive the numbers:


    Surprising as it may seem all these topics do tie together: globalisation. While the traditional reason for ‘going underground’ has obviously been to avoid taxation and social costs, the increased pressure to do this now comes from the existence of more intense global competition (think China, or more locally Turkey and the transition economies) and the availability of a huge migrant labour pool. So instead of ‘offshoring’ you ‘onshore’ in a secluded place.

  25. Hektor, my point was that the Germans aren’t applying the anti-dual citizenship law fairly. They should either look the other way comprehensively, or apply it to all. When they choose to interpret the law on racial grounds, that is racist behaviour.

    As for changing the Polish law. Done, sort of. The negotiations on that were tied to freedom of work for Poles. The restrictions on other EU citizens owning land will, IIRC, expire in six years, along with the right to bar Poles from working in other EU states.

  26. They should either look the other way comprehensively, or apply it to all. When they choose to interpret the law on racial grounds, that is racist behaviour.

    The strict rules against dual citizenship apply only to non-EU citizens. Of course, this is unfair. Yet, citizenship is unfair in itself. Turkey is quite unique in its eagerness to reinstate citizenship to former citizens. In fact there are reports of people being tricked into applying for Turkish citizenship. How true they are I cannot tell. An absolute majority of non-EU residents being Turkish, the law, if enforced, will necessarily hit citizens (or rather no longer citizens) of Turkish descent. This doesn’t mean that there are no civil servants happy to be able to move against Turks. Such sentiments exist.

    The restrictions on other EU citizens owning land will, IIRC, expire in six years, along with the right to bar Poles from working in other EU states.

    Fair enough.

  27. There was a mass immigration of Argentinians who got a Spanish passport and started working in Spain. Not every immigrant started out as an illegal worker. Equadorians do because they will work in the educationaless jobs.

  28. @Oliver

    I don’t think that’s correct that the German dual citizenship restrictions apply only to non-EU citizens. I think they apply to everyone, with very few exceptions. The exceptions seem to be in the few cases where countries do not allow their citizens to forfeit their citizenship and/or make it practically impossible or prohibitively expensive.

    Certainly there is no indication in this summary of the German citizenship law that the rules are any differet for EU citizens.

  29. The devil is in the fine print. §12/2 StAG:

    (2) Von der Voraussetzung des § 10 Abs. 1 Satz 1 Nr. 4 wird ferner abgesehen, wenn der Ausländer die Staatsangehörigkeit eines anderen Mitgliedstaates der Europäischen Union besitzt und Gegenseitigkeit besteht.

    The conditions of §10/1/1/4 are also waived if the foreigner has the citizenship of another member state of the EU and that state allows dual citizenship.
    (translation not official)

  30. The unemployment rate is an indicator of the group-as-a-whole’s overall position in the labour market, affecting of course many who are employed and certainly their families.

    Your statement seems to be arguing for the existence of a segmented labor market: one where two identically-qualified people, one Turkish and one white German, compete in seperate labor markets. This would generate different employment outcomes, unemployment pressures, wage levels, etc. Kinda the definition of discrimination.

    And redistributionary policies could help explain the voting patterns of US blacks and German Turks skewing left. It’s possible – but I believe there are other factors in the US. Blacks are disproportionately represented on the welfare rolls, but whites on the dole outnumber them in absolute numbers. Imagine polling the white, gun-toting, pick-up truck driving, trailer park residents in middle America – lots of them receive food stamps, entitlement payments, etc. Think they vote for Democrats? They vote Republican. These poor welfare-receiving whites probably vote Republican in higher percentage than well-off whites on the coasts.

    But I’ve got no data, just impressions.

    Economic concerns (redistribution) have some effect, but so do cultural, tribal, political appeals.

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