MEPs demand golden passport ban

… and rules for golden visas

Golden passport

The Portugal News reports that the European Parliament, concerned that EU citizenship is for sale through various golden passports, proposes new common rules to address the many problems linked to ‘citizenship/residence by investment schemes.

On 9 March, MEPs adopted a legislative initiative report calling on the Commission to table a proposal by the end of its mandate. The commitment by the Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Canada, and the US to limit wealthy Russians with ties to the government from accessing ‘golden passports’ was raised during Monday’s debate in plenary. The proposal passed with 595 in favour, with 12 and 74 abstentions.

Ban golden passports

The EP stresses that ‘citizenship by investment’ (CBI) schemes, under which third-country nationals obtain citizenship rights in exchange for a sum of money, “undermine the essence of EU citizenship”. Parliament describes the practice -in place in Malta, Bulgaria and Cyprus- as “free-riding”, as member states sell what was never intended to become a commodity. Applications have been accepted even when requirements were not met, MEPs say, and demand that these schemes be phased out due to the risks they pose.

Noting the less severe risks posed by ‘residence by investment’ (RBI) schemes, including golden passports, Parliament asks for EU rules to help tackle money laundering, corruption, and tax evasion, including:

Golden visa regulation

  • Stringent background checks (also on applicants’ family members and on sources of funds), mandatory checks against EU databases, and vetting procedures in third countries;
  • Reporting obligations for member states, including a “notification and consultation” scheme to allow other member states to object; and
  • Requirements for minimum physical residence (for applicants) and active involvement, quality, added value, and contribution to the economy (for their investments).

No golden passports, nor visas for Russian oligarchs

Parliament welcomes the commitment by the relevant member states to limit the sale of citizenship to Russians with ties to the Russian government, and calls for all CBI and RBI schemes in the EU to exclude Russian applicants with immediate effect. MEPs urge EU governments to reassess all approved applications from the past few years and ensure that “no Russian individual with financial, business or other links to the Putin regime retains his or her citizenship and residency rights”. In addition, they call on the Commission to ban Russian nationals who are subject to EU sanctions from all RBI schemes.

MEPs demand golden passport ban 1

According to a press release from the European Parliament: “MEPs deplore the lack of comprehensive security checks and vetting procedures in both types of schemes, adding that it should not be possible to file successive applications in different member states. Member states should not rely on checks carried out by non-state actors. Parliament calls for an EU levy of a meaningful percentage on the investments made – until ‘golden passports’ are phased out, and indefinitely for ‘golden visas’. It also asks the Commission to put pressure on third countries that benefit from visa-free travel to the EU to follow suit.

“Noting that intermediaries in these schemes are neither transparent nor held accountable, Parliament calls for a ban on their involvement in CBIs and a “strict and binding regulation” for their role in RBIs, which should include sanctions”.

Rapporteur Sophia in ‘t Veld (Renew, NL) commented: “These (golden passport) schemes only serve to provide a back door into the EU for shady individuals who cannot enter in broad daylight. It is time we closed that door so that Russian oligarchs and other persons with dirty money stay out. Member state governments have refused to address the problem, claiming it was not an EU matter. Given what is currently happening, they cannot duck this issue anymore.

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5 thoughts on “MEPs demand golden passport ban”

  1. Let’s hope that the ban will include ALL oligarchs, not just the russian ones. Or shall we continue to call oligarchs from other countries “billionaires”?

    2
    Reply
    • Maria,

      You are seriously out of your nut, you should move into a commune and live happily with your communist friends
      If you live in Portugal, you live in a country that values individual freedom and democracy without the shadow of monarchy

      By all means restrict trade to and from the country, but by no means penalise it’s individuals

      Take a chill pill

      Reply

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