The Court held that it is not contrary to EU law for Member States to withdraw citizenship obtained by deception, even if the effect is to also withdraw citizenship of the Union, so long as the decision observes the principle of proportionality.
The applicant is a stateless Palestinian from Lebanon, who was denied statelessness status recognition as he was found to fall under the exclusion grounds of the 1954 Convention, even after leaving the territory under UNRWA mandate.
The applicant was born in China and is of Tibetan origin. He fled China to Nepal, and then made his way to Belgium through India on a fake passport. His asylum applications failed, he has been detained with a view to deportation to China, but had been released due to the Chinese authorities not issuing the necessary documents. The applicant also unsuccessfully attempted to organise voluntary return through IOM, contacting authorities of China, India, and Nepal. These facts convinced the Court to recognise the applicant as stateless.
The case had been brought before the ECJ for a preliminary ruling, leading to its famous Rottman judgment (CJEU, C-135/08 Rottmann, judgment of 2 March 2010). The Federal Administrative Court rules on the case after the ECJ's judgment. The applicant lost his Austrian nationality when he naturalised in Germany, but his German naturalisation was later revoked as he committed fraud in the naturalisation procedure, rendering him stateless. The Federal Administrative Court upheld the administrative decision to withdraw the German nationality despite the uncertainty about the restoration of the Austrian nationality of the applicant.
The applicant was born in Italy to parents born in former Yugoslavia. His stateless status was denied on the basis that he did not make enough efforts to be recognised as a national of either Italy, Croatia or Macedonia.
The applicant refused to exchange his USSR passport for the Ukrainian one in the aftermath of dissolution of the USSR, and was subsequently denied his retirement benefits due to lack of a Ukrainian passport. He requested the Court to establish that he is a stateless person, to release him from Ukrainian nationality, and grant him legal residence rights in Ukraine. The Court concluded that the applicant is in fact a Ukrainian national, even if he refuses to apply for a passport, as the law attributes Ukrainian nationality to all former USSR nationals who lived in Ukraine at a specified time, regardless of the will, actions or inactions of affected persons.
Mr. B and Mrs. C, a married couple who got recognised as stateless by OFPRA, did not mention they had a daughter (Miss A, the applicant) when applying for statelessness status. When Miss A also applied for a statelessness status, and provided a birth certificate proving that Mr. B and Mrs. C are her parents, OFPRA denied her application, partially because they doubted the parental relations, and partially because they considered that she did not take the necessary steps to get recognised as a national by either Italy or the successor states of Yugoslavia - where her parents are from. The Court ruled that OFPRA based its decision on an error of assessment, and ordered it to grant Miss A the statelessness status.
Confirmation of acquisition of Dutch nationality was wrongly refused. The court is of the opinion that the provisions from the Statelessness Convention must be regarded as provisions of international law binding on everyone, as referred to in Article 94 of the Constitution. This means that the admission requirement (of 3 years) set by the defendant is contrary to article 1 of the Convention.