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Abstract

Immigration is one of the most important issues in the European Union (EU). In order to address the subject, the EU adopted a Directive on a long-term residence status for third-country nationals (TCNs). While implementing this Directive, many Member States changed their migration laws, thus increasingly linking the acquirement of this status with integration requirements. The integration requirements emphasise language acquisition and knowledge of the country, including its history, culture, and constitution. Why is this trend taking place at this particular point in time? While many factors could be mentioned, these integration tests are also the consequence of the constant repetition in the belief of the purity of the nation in certain political discourses, particularly by the populist radical right. This line of thinking creates a worrying problem for the future as European national identities are seen as immutable, thus complicating the acceptance of the new Europeans with an immigrant background. Hence a question arises: To what extent can we see a correlation in some EU countries between the recent introduction of harsher integration requirements for obtaining permanent residence and a certain discourse on national identity, primarily put forward by radical right parties?