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Dutch government set to ban dual nationality in defiance of legal advice

Foreigners who want to become Dutch nationals will have to give up their previous nationality, the government has insisted in the face of strong criticism from its own legal advisers.

Passports: The cabinet is determined to abolish dual nationality.The abolition of dual nationality is a key demand of Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party (PVV), who claim that people with more than one passport lack loyalty.

The Council of State, which advises the government on the legal and constitutional status of proposed new laws, said nationality and loyalty did not ‘automatically’ go hand in hand.

But interior minister Liesbeth Spies has told the council that she intends to ignore its advice and press ahead with the measure.

The PVV wants to clamp down in particular on Turkish and Moroccan immigrants who acquire Dutch citizenship but retain their former passport.

The measure would also require Dutch nationals who settle in other chance to surrender their passport if they adopt a different nationality.

The senior coalition partner, the Liberals (VVD), are divided on the issue, while opposition parties have criticised it as ‘symbolic politics’.

The issue came to a head in 2010 when it emerged that a junior minister in the Liberal-Christian Democrat coalition, Marlies Veldhuijzen van Zanten-Hyllner, had dual Dutch and Swedish nationality.

The measure has also come under pressure from Dutch expats overseas. Eelco Key, an expat in the United States, has circulated a petition among the Liberal and Labour (PvdA) associations in the US calling for the measure to be dropped.

The Council of State also criticised the government’s plans to put more barriers in the way of foreign nationals who want to acquire Dutch citizenship.

A proposed  new language test failed to make it clear what level of proficiency candidates should show, while young applicants should not be automatically excluded if they commit minor offences, the council said.