The Commission on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) today adopted the report of the Sophie In Field Legislative Citizenship and Residency by Investment Initiative, which aims to bring an end to the citizenship by investment programs that are operated. by several European countries.
Renew Europe, a pro-European political group in the European Parliament, has consistently tried to end such programs that allow foreigners to obtain visas in EU countries that run such programmes, although they have often been criticized for participating in many of the programmes. Unlawful affairs, including corruption and money laundering, TheSchengen.com reports.
The coordinator on the LIBE committee, as well as the report’s rapporteur, Sophie in ‘t Veld, said that the golden visa program is above all golden opportunities for money laundering and corrupt access to the EU.
Member states are selling something they don’t have to sell: access to the European Union. Thus, those member states benefit financially, but at the expense of the security and integrity of the union. It is also unfair to those who invest in the EU economy through normal channels or those who go through a lengthy procedure to obtain a residence permit or citizenship in a member state.
The Coordinator also stressed that the Commission now needed to follow up and submit legislative proposals.
European countries like Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Austria, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland are famous for their golden visa schemes which attract a large number of wealthy international investors.
Recently, an analytical tool published by Henley and Partners along with Deep Knowledge Analytics Best Real Estate Index for Migration ranked Spain, Montenegro, Turkey, Portugal and Greece in the top five as the best European countries for real investments, residency rights and citizenship.
However, due to their involvement in illegal affairs, some European countries announced that they would put an end to these schemes.
Alongside the renewal of Europe, many NGOs have criticized the citizenship-by-investment programmes, including the European Union Commission, which has called on the authorities of countries running such schemes to abolish them as soon as possible.
Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Kirill Petkov, has pledged that the country will soon end the golden visa program due to “the lack of real investments in the economy, which is likely to lead to job creation”.
Previously, the Portugal and Greece golden visa schemes were seen as having systemic problems, while the schemes were used for nefarious purposes due to the lack of background checks.
The authorities in Cyprus also announced that they will cancel their golden visa scheme after an Al Jazeera report that claimed that more than 1,000 foreigners bought citizenship in Cyprus from 2017 to 2019.