Wednesday

23rd Sep 2020

EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales

  • Cyprus was already a hotspot for Russian tourists and investors (Photo: Marco Fieber)

The European Commission has said it is in a "dialogue" with Cyprus amid concerns on loopholes in its passport sale scheme.

A Commission spokesman said on Monday (18 September) that the EU executive started the talks in 2014 to make sure that a "genuine link" existed between buyers of Cypriot passports and the island state.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"As a result of this dialogue, Cyprus revised their [passport sale] law in late 2016", but the "dialogue remains ongoing," he said.

He noted that issuing passports was a national competence.

But he added that since obtaining a passport from any one of the 28 EU states entailed getting rights, such as freedom of movement or capital, in all the others "member states should use their prerogative to award or withdraw citizenship in a spirit of sincere cooperation".

He also said it was a "principle in international law" that passport applicants should have such a "genuine link" to their new host state.

The Cypriot passport scheme requires people to visit the country at least once every seven years and to invest at least €2 million in real estate or €2.5 million in Cypriot stocks or bonds.

There is no language or residency requirement.

According to The Guardian, a British newspaper, Cyprus has raised over €4 billion via the scheme since 2013 and sold more than 400 passports last year.

It said, citing internal Cypriot documents, that several passports were sold last year to Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs with a sensitive political profile.

The Cypriot finance ministry told The Guardian it carried out anti-money laundering type checks on applicants.

It said the scheme was for "genuine investors, who establish a business base and acquire a permanent residence in Cyprus".

It also said other EU states had similar programmes.

It did not name them, but Hungary, Malta, and Portugal, among others, also have similar schemes.

News in Brief

  1. US corona death toll passes 200,000
  2. Greece and Turkey agree to resume talks in Istanbul
  3. Seven countries found MidEast energy forum, without Turkey
  4. Four more states join EU medical strategic stockpile
  5. Malta police arrest chief of staff of ex-PM
  6. EP pushing for effective rule-of-law mechanism
  7. France opposes return EU deficit rules after corona
  8. Special EU summit postponed as Charles Michel quarantines

EUobserver under attack in wider battle for EU free press

If EU citizens want to know the truth, then journalists need protection from malicious litigation, as EUobserver joined the list of targets, over an article about the late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. EU countries stuck on rule of law-budget link
  2. EU states struggle to better sync Covid-19 measures
  3. EP groups drop homophobe from Sakharov prize
  4. Legal complaint filed with EU Commission over migration
  5. Coronavirus: Will a second wave divide Europe again?
  6. Coronavirus: the Swedish model was worth emulating
  7. Time to fix Europe's broken migration and asylum system
  8. Covid-19: How is Eastern Europe bracing for a second wave?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us