Article 20 - Equality before the law
Article 21 - Non-discrimination
Key facts of the case:
Mr Q (a citizen of both France and Morocco) was stripped of French nationality by an Order of 28 May 2014 adopted on the basis of Articles 25 and 25-1 of the Civil Code, on the grounds that he was convicted by a final judgment of the High Court of Paris for participating in a criminal association for the preparation of an act of terrorism, offences listed in Article 421-2-1 of the Criminal Code. In a request filed in August 2014, Mr Q asked the State Council to annul the Order on the grounds of abuse of power.
Outcome of the case:
The State Council rejected the appeal.
The withdrawal of French nationality is not incompatible with the requirements resulting from the law of the Union if the people in question acquired this nationality and also have another nationality, for reasons listed and having regard to the very particular gravity of the acts of terrorism, and if the withdrawal of nationality is possible within a limited time.
The State Council rejected the appeal by dismissing the pleas made as follows:
6. Considering that under Article 20 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: ‘All persons are equal before the law’; that under Article 21 of the Charter: ‘In the field of application of the laws and without prejudice to their specific provisions, any discrimination based on nationality shall be prohibited’; that under Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union: ‘There shall be a citizenship of the Union. A citizen of the Union is any person holding the nationality of a Member State’;
7. Considering, as stated by the Court of Justice of the European Union in its judgment of 2 March 2010, Rottman, C-135/08, that the definition of the conditions for the acquisition and loss of nationality falls within the competence of each Member State of the Union; considering, however, that since the loss of the nationality of a Member State results in the loss of citizenship of the Union, the loss of the nationality of a Member State must, to be consistent with Union law, respond to reasons of public interest and be proportionate to the seriousness of the facts on which it is based, the time since the acquisition of nationality and the possibility for that person to obtain another nationality; as mentioned above the Charter of Fundamental Rights does not preclude that the loss of nationality may depend on the mode or conditions of acquisition of nationality.