Schengen Visa News

MEPs Want the EU to Impose a Tax on Member States Operating Golden Passports & Visas

MEPs called on the EU Commission to put forward a proposal on ending the so-called golden passports, regulating golden visa schemes before the end of their mandate, in order to avoid abuse of these schemes by criminals.

At a meeting today, on 9 March, MEPs voted in favor of a draft Legislative Initiative Report outlining several actions Member States are urged to address with regard to their citizenship and residency through investment plans previously approved by the European Parliament’s Civil Affairs Committee. Freedoms, justice and internal affairs mid-February.

During the Parliament meeting, Rapporteur Sophia Enfield said the programs serve suspicious individuals as a back door to the European Union.

It’s time to shut that door so that Russian oligarchs and other people with dirty money stay out. Governments of member states refused to address the problem, claiming that it was not a matter of the European Union. “Given what’s currently going on, they can’t avoid this problem any longer,” she said.

At the same time, MEPs want the EU to tax every golden passport issued until the programs are terminated and to tax golden visas indefinitely.

According to a press release from Parliament, regarding Golden Passport schemes, formally known as “Citizenship-by-Investment” (CBI) schemes, the same threatens the very essence of EU citizenship.

“Parliament describes this practice – established in Malta, Bulgaria and Cyprus – as ‘free access’, whereby member states sell what is not meant to become a commodity at all. MEPs say requests have been accepted even when requirements are not met, and they demand Gradually cancel these schemes because of the risks they pose.

Regarding the so-called golden visas, through which 12 member states grant residency to foreigners in exchange for investments in their territory, Parliament wants the EU to set rules that would tackle money laundering, tax evasion and corruption, including strict background checks here on the applicant.

MEPs also want the authorities of these 12 member states to impose minimum requirements for physical residency, active participation, quality and added value, and to contribute to the economy through their investments.

>> MEPs urge 12 EU member states to tighten requirements for issuing ‘golden visas’

They are also demanding that the European Union levy a tax on these types of schemes.

“Parliament is calling for an EU tax on a large proportion of investments – so that ‘golden passports’ are phased out, and indefinitely for ‘golden visas.’ It also asks the Commission to put pressure on third countries that benefit from travel without visa to the European Union to do the same”, insist MEPs.

Finally, Parliament applauded the decision of some member states to limit the issuance of golden visas and passports to Russian applicants amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Member states were also encouraged to re-evaluate the approved applications of Russians in order to ensure that no individual with ties to the Putin regime would benefit from EU citizenship and residency.

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