An Austrian national by birth transferred his residence to Germany and naturalised as a German national. The naturalisation in Germany had the effect, in accordance with Austrian law, of causing him to lose his Austrian nationality. The German authorities later withdrew the naturalisation with retroactive effect, on the grounds that the applicant had not disclosed that he was the subject of a criminal investigation in Austria on account of suspected serious fraud, and that he had thus obtained German nationality by deception. The Court held that it is not contrary to EU law for a Member State to withdraw nationality obtained by deception, even if it results in losing EU citizenship, so long as the decision observes the principle of proportionality. Observance of the principle of proportionality requires the person concerned to be afforded a reasonable period of time in order to try to recover the nationality of their Member State of origin.
Germany’s highest administrative court decides on a case in which stateless minors (the applicants) were granted German nationality. The applicants’ parents applied for their nationality using false information, namely that the family would originate from Lebanon instead of Turkey. The Court held that the withdrawal of nationality is only valid if done promptly, i.e. within a maximum of five years after the nationality has been granted.