Swiss court backs citizenship ban on language grounds

PT       2004-02-05 
The Federal Court has ruled in favour of a commune which denied a foreigner citizenship on the grounds that she did not speak enough German.

Switzerland’s highest court said that insufficient knowledge of a national language was reason enough to reject of an application for Swiss citizenship.

The local authorities in Balsthal, canton Solothurn, had been at loggerheads with their cantonal parliament ever since they turned down a Turkish woman’s application for citizenship in 2001.

The 56-year old, who has lived in Switzerland for over a quarter of a century, was deemed to have insufficient knowledge of German.