Migration, integration, and citizenship in Western Europe: the role of civic integration requirements in the Netherlands and Germany

Süm, Elif
This study analyzes civic-integration policies that have been introduced between 2000 and 2010 in Western-European states. These civic-integration policies introduced citizenship tests and interviews into the naturalization process of migrants by requiring knowledge of host society’s language, history, law and institutions, and culture. Accordingly, in this thesis, these requirements are examined within the framework of liberal, republican, and communitarian citizenship theories looking whether these requirements comply with liberal norms and values. This study investigates two specific cases; the Netherlands and Germany. The Netherlands is one of the pioneer states to develop civic-oriented integration policies. It demands migrants to complete an integration test before they arrive at the Netherlands, and a citizenship test for naturalization. Similar civic-integration policies are adopted by Germany. It implements a civic-integration policy abroad and a naturalization test for those migrants who wish to be granted citizenship. These civic tests started a new era in the migrant integration process. This thesis argues that the communitarian understanding of citizenship became more prominent while bringing a challenge for preserving liberal norms and values. Secondly, this research highlights that these civic-integration policies began to be perceived as hurdles against naturalization in terms of citizenship acquisition processes. Overall, the findings of this research concludes that this new era of civic-integrationism, in response to international migration, tests the limits of liberal democracies in the 21st century.