JY, an Estonian national, applied for Austrian nationality. As Austria operates a 'single nationality' approach, JY renounced her Estonian nationality after receiving an assurance that she would be granted Austrian nationality once proof of her renunciation was given. This assurance was subsequently revoked due to the applicant committing two road traffic offences, leaving her stateless. In its judgment, the CJEU confirmed that the situation falls within the scope of EU law, and that the authorities' decision to revoke an assurance to grant Austrian nationality was incompatible with the principle of proportionality considering the gravity of the offences committed. The Court noted that the concepts of ‘public policy’ and ‘public security’ must be interpreted strictly and clarified their meaning, concluding that it did not appear that JY represented a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society or a threat to public security in Austria. It also held that traffic offences, punishable by mere administrative fines, cannot be regarded as capable of demonstrating that the person is a threat to public policy and public security which may justify the permanent loss of their EU citizenship.
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 attempted to renounce his Russian nationality as being a national of Russian Federation violated his religious beliefs. The request was refused, as he failed to provide proof of having another nationality or a guarantee of acquisition of another nationality upon renouncing his Russian nationality. The Constitutional Court ruled against the applicant, stating that prohibition on renunciation of a nationality that results in statelessness is in line with international norms, and that the mere possession of Russian nationality cannot be seen as a violation of religious beliefs.
When naturalising in the Netherlands the applicant committed to renouncing his original nationality. The Dutch authorities have withdrawn his naturalisation as he missed the deadline for renunciation, but by then the applicant had already taken steps to renounce his original nationality, albeit after the deadline, thus leading to the decision of the Dutch authorities potentially rendering him stateless. The Court considered the direct effect of ECN in the Dutch legal order, as well as whether the applicant’s case amounted to fraudulent acquisition of nationality, which would potentially justify rendering him stateless under the ECN. The Court ordered the authorities to take a new decision, which takes into the account the developments that took place after the deadline, and referring to the risk of statelessness.
The applicant attempted to renounce her Russian nationality without proof of having another nationality or a guarantee of acquiring one. The Court decided that the constitutional right to change one's nationality does not amount to an absolute right to unilaterally renounce a nationality, and that it is not unconstitutional to impose a number of conditions on nationals before allowing renunciation, among which the condition of having secured an alternative nationality. Prohibition of renunciation of nationality with an aim of becoming stateless has been ruled as complying with international standards, in particular with the European Convention on Nationality.
The applicant challenged the Constitutionality of the Law on Citizenship, requiring Russian citizens who want to renounce their citizenship to have another citizenship, or a guarantee of being able to acquire a different citizenship. The Court determined that Russian citizens have the right to change their citizenship, but not an unconditional right to renounce it, referring to article 15 of the UDHR and the European Convention on Nationality. The prohibition on renunciation of Russian nationality with the aim of becoming a stateless person has been found to be in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation.