(Nov. 18, 2011) On November 15, 2011, France's Haut conseil à l'intégration (High Council for Integration) presented to the Minister of the Interior a draft of a charter listing the rights and duties of the French citizen. Foreign nationals applying for naturalization will be required to sign the document (Cécilia Gabison, Les obligations nouvelles pour devenir Français, LE FIGARO.FR (Nov. 15, 2011)). The High Council for Integration, created by ministerial decree in 1989, is charged with making useful recommendations regarding all questions related to the integration of foreign residents or persons of foreign origin into French society (Haut conseil à l'intégration, Présentation (last visited Nov. 15, 2011)).
This charter was set forth by article 2 of Law 2011-672 of June 16, 2011, on Immigration, Integration and Nationality (Loi n° 2011-672 du 16 juin 2011 relative à l'immigration, à l'intégration et àla nationalité, LEGIFRANCE; see also Nicole Atwill, France: Law on Immigration, Integration and Nationality, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (July 1, 2011)). The draft Charter is approximately 20 pages long. To enter into effect, it must be adopted by a decree issued by the executive branch of government (Document – La Charte des droits et des devoirs du citoyen français, LE FIGARO.FR (Nov. 15, 2011)).
The charter spells out “the principles, values and symbols of the French Republic” (Cécilia Gabison, supra). It notably states that “all citizens participate in the defense and cohesion of the nation. Everyone has the duty to contribute, based on their financial means, to the expenses of the nation by the payment of direct taxes, indirect taxes, or social contributions.” It further provides that “[i]n becoming a French citizen, one cannot claim another citizenship on French territory.” It also details the social rights that are attached to French citizenship (id).
Foreign nationals who apply for naturalization will be required to show a basic knowledge of French history, culture, and civilization. The Ministry of the Interior has asked a group of historians to establish the level of knowledge required in these fields and will publish a regulation at a later date (id). As for the level of French language required, it is the level one should have at the end of compulsory education (id).