French, German should be enough for Lux passport, says petition

A petition that opened for signature today says people applying for Luxembourg nationality should be tested on one of the country’s three official languages and not just Luxembourgish.

To gain nationality, applicants must be able to demonstrate knowledge of the Luxembourgish language at A2 level for speaking and B1 for listening. There are exemptions for people who have lived in the country for more than 20 years or who cannot learn a language because of a disability.

But the current criteria “discriminate against people who speak French or German,” a petition open for signature until 9 September says. “The fact of speaking one of the three official languages should be enough to obtain Luxembourg nationality,” the petition author, Ahmed Anis Bensadi, says.

“The people who live and work in Luxembourg who speak French or German are also part of the country,” he says.

Public petitions that receive more than 4,500 signatures must be debated in parliament and with representatives of the government.

The proposal, however, is unlikely to find favour with policymakers as the country’s political parties in power and in the opposition are committed to promoting the use of Luxembourgish in everyday life.

Nearly three quarters of foreigners surveyed by immigrant workers’ rights organisation Asti last year said they consider speaking Luxembourgish an integration tool. This compared to 91% of Luxembourg nationals.

Getting Luxembourg nationality was considered less important for integration, with 48% of foreigners saying it’s a sign of integration, compared to 68% of Luxembourg nationals.

Around one third of jobs advertised with job agency Adem require applicants to speak Luxembourgish, the labour ministry said this week, although the rate varies from around 90% in the healthcare sector to just 16% in finance.