The EU Commission has told EU states to tighten checks on non-EU nationals who acquire citizenship – so-called “golden passports” – through investments.
The Commission plans closer monitoring of those schemes and of “golden visas” granting residence in exchange for big investments. It says they can be abused for tax evasion and money-laundering.
EU citizenship gives an individual free movement in most of the EU, easy access to the single market and other rights.
Twenty EU countries have such schemes.
Cyprus, Malta and Bulgaria give passports to non-EU nationals who make sufficient investments in their countries.
They and 17 other EU member states, including the UK, also grant residence rights to investors. That right puts an individual on the path to citizenship.
In a new report the Commission says there is not enough information about how the schemes work. It is setting up a special team to monitor the schemes and boost information-sharing.
The anti-corruption campaign group Global Witness said the EU had raised the alarm but not offered solutions, the BBC’s Adam Fleming reports from Brussels.
“People obtaining an EU nationality must have a genuine connection to the member state concerned,” said EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova.
“We want more transparency on how nationality is granted and more co-operation between member states. There should be no weak link in the EU, where people could shop around for the most lenient scheme.”
Source : BBC