IN THE three and a half years since the State Citizenship Act went into effect (June 17, 2010-February 4, 2014), it has stripped a total of 722 people of their Slovak citizenship, according to Interior Ministry statistics, as reported by the TASR newswire.

Out of the total, 310 were men and 412 were women. The lion’s share of them (289) lost their citizenship after accepting Czech citizenship. The rest accepted the citizenship of Germany (143), Austria (94), the UK (62), Hungary (47), the US (17), the Netherlands (13), Norway (12), Belgium (seven), Ireland (six), Italy and Switzerland (five each), France, Canada and Australia (four each), Iceland, China and Sweden (two each), and Ukraine, Russia, Denmark and New Zealand (one each).

The Slovak Citizenship Act was passed by the first government of Robert Fico (2006-10) in response to the controversial Hungarian Dual Citizenship Act, which gave an unprecedented opportunity for Hungarians living in neighbouring countries like Slovakia and Romania to enjoy the benefits of Hungarian citizenship while living abroad. According to the Slovak legislation, all people who become citizens of a foreign country lose their Slovak citizenship.

The legislation is being reviewed by the Interior Ministry, which is said to be working on a milder version of the law. The revised amendment is expected to be submitted for inter-ministerial comments sometime in the first half of this year. Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák envisages that the amendment could allow those who lost their Slovak citizenship to reclaim it under certain circumstances.

The Constitutional Court is currently looking into the law. This process was initiated by Most- Híd MP Gábor Gál, according to whom the law is unconstitutional.