It is not a rare occurrence for Council of Europe member states to grant passports to foreigners who reside in their country of nationality but with whom there are special links. However, the question arises whether this is politically recommendable, and to obtain what objectives.
All Council of Europe member states allow for the possibility of granting citizenship to foreign citizens. Sometimes special provisions have been introduced to facilitate the reacquisition of citizenship on behalf of those who were deprived of it due to changes of international borders, or their descendants.
However, in recent times, the granting of passports to foreign citizens has come to the spotlight as a highly controversial practice which is considered by many as a way of legitimising political claims of a country towards another.
In some cases, the granting of passports is not even requested by the persons concerned but is decided by the authorities as a systematic measure, to be applied to all foreign citizens who reside in a given area of a foreign country. Needless to say, in the context of frozen conflicts or other situations of international tension, this policy of unrequested and systematic passportisation risks to further aggravate instability and even precipitate conflicts.
The Assembly should conduct an in-depth analysis of this issue, also by comparing the practice of different states in different situations, and should develop political guidelines to prevent that the granting of passports to foreigners becomes a source of political tension between Council of Europe member states.