France drops plans to strip dual nationality in terrorism cases

The French government has dropped plans announced shortly after the November 13 Islamic State attacks on Paris to strip dual citizens of their French nationality in terrorism cases, a minister said on Tuesday.

After gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 in the attacks, President Francois Hollande called for the measures as part of constitutional amendment aimed at stepping up the fight on terrorism.

The measure would have made it possible to strip dual citizens of their French nationality if they carried out acts threatening national security.

Because French citizenship can be granted to those born on French soil, France has many dual citizens who also have citizenship of former French colonies, often in North Africa.

Currently only naturalised citizens can be stripped of their French citizenship and extending it to all dual nationals has divided politicians on both the left and right.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who has had deep misgivings about the plan from the start, said it had been dropped from the constitutional amendment bill, due to be presented on Wednesday.

“It posed a fundamental problem in terms of national rights by birthplace, to which I am firmly attached,” she said in an interview with Algerian radio.

Among the other measures included in the amendment are plans to bar dual nationals considered a terrorism risk from entering France, a move aimed at keeping French citizens fighting for Islamic State abroad from returning.

A constitutional amendment requires a three-fifths majority of the Congress of both houses or a referendum vote.