EC Report Outlines Risks of Investor Citizenship Schemes
January 23 (BTA correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) -
The European Commission outlines the risks associated with
investor citizenship and residence schemes operated by a number
of EU Member States in a report, released on Wednesday.
The report maps the existing practices and identifies certain
risks such schemes imply for the EU, in particular, as regards
security, money laundering, tax evasion and corruption. A lack
of transparency in how the schemes are operated and a lack of
cooperation among Member States further exacerbate these risks.
According to the report, three Member States, Bulgaria, Cyprus
and Malta, currently operate schemes that grant investors the
nationality of these countries under conditions which are less
strict than ordinary naturalisation regimes. In these three
Member States, there is no obligation of physical residence for
the individual, nor a requirement of other genuine connections
with the country before obtaining citizenship.
The report observes that checks run on applicants are not
sufficiently robust and the EU's own centralised information
systems, such as the Schengen Information System (SIS), are not
being used as systematically as they should be.
Also, the report finds a lack of clear information on how the
schemes are run, including on the number of applications
received, granted or rejected and the origins of the applicants.
In addition, Member States do not exchange information on
applicants for such schemes, nor do they inform each other of
The Commission will establish a group of experts from Member
States to improve the transparency, governance and the security
of the schemes.
It emerged on Tuesday that Bulgaria is preparing to end the
award of citizenship by investment.
European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova told a news
conference in Brussels that she had been notified of this
Wednesday's report follows the European Parliament resolution of
16 January 2014 which called on the Commission to look into the
various national citizenship schemes in the light of European
values and the letter and spirit of EU legislation and practice.