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.
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.